Great American Road Trip for Veterans Makes Stop at Two Mile Jeep Run

Gavin Fish

Gavin Fish

Published July 10, 2023 10:00 am
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VENANGO CO., Pa. (EYT) — American automobile pioneer Horatio Nelson Jackson began a journey on May 23, 1903, to be the first person to drive an automobile from San Francisco to New York City to win a $50.00 bet. Captain Scott Montefusco began the same journey 120 years to the date later, but this time it was being done for a higher cause.

(Photos by Gavin Fish.)

Montefusco is driving his 1952 Korean War Willys Jeep from San Francisco to New York City along America’s back roads to raise money for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation. The charitable organization was founded in tribute to New York Fire Department firefighter Stephen Siller, who died on September 11, 2001, during the September 11 attacks. The foundation raises money to benefit veterans, first responders, and their families.

“I’ve got 36 years of service to the country, and I want to give back. I’m not done serving our country,” Montefusco told exploreVenango.com. “After 36 years of service, I’m healthy, in one piece, and without serious injury. Somehow, I made it through in one piece.”

According to Montefusco, he worked with others who weren’t so lucky. He said that he has friends who were injured or died in the line of duty.

“I thought, how can I give back, and how can I inspire others to give back?” he explained. “So, I decided I wanted to inspire the next generation to work as a first responder as I did, or in the military. I also want to help the families who’ve been left behind.”

“I also wanted to inspire the younger generation to take an interest in American history,” he added.

Montefusco has been driving his Jeep, Little Glory, across the country to inspire the younger generation, and he’s been doing it with the top and windshield down in honor of Jackson, who had neither back in 1903.

The stop at Two Mile County Park wasn’t originally on his plan, but when Oil Valley Jeeps reached out and invited him to stop by the Two Mile Jeep Run, he was happy to oblige.

A Marine Corps veteran and former FBI agent, Montefusco began his trip with Little Glory’s wheels in the Pacific Ocean at the US Coast Guard Station north of the Golden Gate Bridge. He’ll end his trip on July 26–120 years to the day that Jackson ended his–in NYC where the hope is to have the Jeep hoisted upon the USS Intrepid where it’ll be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Captain Montefusco hasn’t been alone on his trip.

A team of rotating volunteers are driving his 1973 Winnebago, Marine’s Dream, whose manufacture date was appropriately May 23, 1973, that carries supplies for the captain, as well as offers a place to rest.

(Pictured above: Bradford Adams, a Marine Veteran a friend of Montefusco, has been helping along the way.)

So far, 12 volunteers have driven Marine’s Dream including Oil City resident Jim Donze, a Navy veteran. A total of 18 volunteers will have eventually driven the motor home.

Marine’s Dream has all the comforts the captain can ask for, including an 8-track cassette player and an ejection seat from a Republic F-105 Thunderchief that’s been repurposed as the driver’s seat.

While at the Two Mile Jeep Run, Montefusco availed himself of the hospitality of Oil Valley Jeeps, who helped him replace Little Glory’s old carburetor with a brand new one.

The old carburetor was having problems that made the journey more difficult for the captain.

The Two Mile Jeep Run started at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning and continued until the last run left at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.

For more information about the Great American Road Trip, visit gartforvets.org.


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