Tri-Tech student paints truck to honor veterans

Carlos Rivera's 1988 Toyota could stop other vehicles in their tracks.

It's covered in illustrations of historical photos he found that represent how he sees the way veterans have served the United States.

Rivera, 21, said he came up with the idea after a friend who is a Vietnam veteran mentioned he felt that few of the younger generation recognize veterans' contributions.

"That stuck in my mind," he said.

So Rivera decided to make his truck into a work of art as a way to honor veterans all year round.

He invested $350 and about 25 hours to make his truck look like the black and white photos in his history books.

Rivera said he wanted to give his truck an antique feel. The 2009 Kennewick High School graduate took art and auto at Tri-Tech Skills Center in Kennewick.

He started airbrushing his pickup two weeks ago and finished Tuesday, just in time for Veterans Day.

For the past week, Rivera said he has been getting comments and reactions from other drivers. One man who passed Rivera's truck when he was waiting at a red light reversed to look at the truck, honked and gave him a thumbs up.

Rivera, who works for Ross Farms in Kennewick, said he hopes to do similar projects. He'd like to open an airbrushing shop for vehicles.