Charlie Kees, owner of Mister Sew-N-Sew Custom Canvas, Ballston Lake, N.Y., received a commission from a not-for-profit organization to make a dust cover for a fire truck—a fire truck with a past as well as a future. MacBoston Truck’s mission,“to keep the memory alive of all firefighters who have died in the line of duty,” involves using the Albany, N.Y., nonprofit’s oldest fire truck as a caisson for firefighter funeral and memorial services. The 1936 American Lafrance is the oldest fire truck of several owned by MacBoston Truck, and is therefore the most difficult to repair or replace.
Kees had attended a Marine Fabricators Association (MFA) vendor show a few years earlier and learned about Softouch™ fabric, manufactured by MarChem CFI, New Haven, Mo., a laminated polyester fabric with a nonwoven, non-abrasive backer.“I immediately thought [Softouch] … would be perfect for this job, because it had an exterior surface that was easy to clean and an interior with a soft flock finish,” says Kees. The final cover protects the finish on the antique vehicle between uses, ensuring that when the truck is used for educational events, parades and memorials, observers are moved to remembrance and respect for the risks taken by firefighters in their communities.