The “Two Brothers Classic” is hitting the road Friday, with Colby Lindback of rural Green Isle riding shotgun during Central High School’s homecoming parade in Norwood Young America. He will be grand marshal in his newly rebuilt El Camino, and it’s all thanks to the help of strangers.
Colby has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which means his body doesn’t produce the hormone dystrophin that aids in building and rebuilding muscle. Colby loves cars, though, and his father, Jeff, and late brother, Tony, had been restoring a Chevy El Camino for him since 2015. When Tony died in a crash in 2017, Jeff was left to finish the project on his own.
As Colby’s condition worsened, Jeff was in a race against time to complete the car. His family reached out on social media asking for help. Following a story about Colby in the July 14 issue of the Leader, Jeff said he received an outpouring of goodwill.
“I got a bunch of inquiries from people interested in helping with it,” Jeff said. “It came basically down to Paul and Tim.”
Paul Miller of Green Isle and Tim Proehl of Glencoe volunteered to pick up the El Camino and complete the restoration project all on their own. The finished product was delivered Sunday. The two helpers were reluctant to accept credit for their good deed, but Proehl said, “We did it for Colby.”
“They actually came over,” Jeff said, “and I talked to them about finishing it so I could spend more time with Colby, since he’s now in hospice care.”
This kind gesture brought full circle a story that began with the generosity of Colby himself.
The El Camino was a gift from Colby’s late brother, Tony. It was in response to a model 1969 Chevy Malibu that Colby had given him. The model car had sentimental meaning as it was the same type of car Tony had helped Jeff with once when he was young.
Colby’s sister, Autumn, described Colby as a competitive and thoughtful giver.
“Colby has always been big on trying to give everybody the most meaningful gifts he can,” she said. “He at one point was upset because I gave mom a blanket for Christmas that had our pictures on it, so he decided to outdo me and get her a kitten on Mother’s Day. He’s always been big on getting meaningful gifts.”
An El Camino was chosen because it has a sporty front similar to a Malibu, but it also has a cargo bed that can fit Colby’s wheelchair in the back with a special pulley system designed to help him get in and out.
Aside from a few minor parts that still need to be installed, the exterior of the El Camino is completely finished and the car is ready to roll.
“They made sure the outside is completely done,” Jeff said. “It’ll just be a few more things to be done to the inside.”
Norwood Young America Central High School kicked off its homecoming celebrations Monday with its royalty coronation, which Colby participated in as part of his grand marshal duties. The parade is 1:30-2:30 p.m. Friday, and Colby will be there with his dad and “Two Brothers Classic,” the name given to the El Camino in honor of Tony and Colby.
The father and son duo also hope to attend a couple car shows this fall before the weather turns, and it’s all possible thanks to the unexpected help of a few good people.
“It’s unbelievable,” Jeff said. “For people to take time out of their lives to do something like this for people they didn’t even know — it’s the greatest thing. Can’t think of any other way to put it into words other than fantastic.”