From rust to restoration, an old truck helps survivors of human trafficking

Students from Bryan College are volunteering to restore the 1960 Chevrolet Apache pickup truck. (Image: John Sterling)

A professor at Bryan College in Dayton is donating a special item, hoping to help survivors of human trafficking recover at a local ranch.

In this week's Pay It Forward, Newschannel 9's Jessica Harthorn discovered how restoring an old truck will transform broken lives.

Professor John Sterling says his friend recently gave him a dilapidated truck found rusting away in the woods.

Sterling gladly took the vehicle knowing its restoration would symbolize renewal and give a fresh start for young women escaping sex trafficking in Tennessee.

The 1960 Chevy Apache pickup truck looked like a pile of rusted junk, a tree literally growing right through the engine.

But for Professor John Sterling, it was a restoration project he knew his students at Bryan College would want to tackle.

"At the end of the day, you have this sense of feeling that you did something good for somebody else," said Bryan College student, Zeke Colby.

Colby is one of several students volunteering to fix the old truck.

When it's done, it will be donated to the Blazing Hope Ranch in Dayton, a transitional home for women escaping sex trafficking.

Co-founder, David Haggard, says teens ages 12 to 14 are rescued by police every day.

"They've been used by a family member, by someone they've met on-line," said Haggard.

Talk of the truck spread to Pat Wesoloski at Bryan College. She says the project symbolizes restoring broken lives.

And we captured Professor Sterling's reaction when she surprised him in the middle of class.

"What is going on here?" asked Professor Sterling.

"On behalf of Newschannel 9 and the McMahan Law Firm, we want to Pay It Forward to you, for all the work you've done with the Bryan College students, and the Blazing Hope Ranch and the truck. So we are going to give you 1, 2, 3, 4, $500," surprised Wesoloski.

"Well thank you!" said Professor Sterling.

Professor Sterling told his class every dollar will be used to finish the truck.

"It's a picture of how Christ has redeemed us from the Earth and cut us loose," said Professor Sterling.

Professor Sterling says after he donates the truck to the Blazing Hope Ranch he hopes to borrow it once in a while.

He wants to take it to car shows and create a story board, showing how he says Christ works to transform people's lives.

Do you know someone who deserves $500 cash for helping someone in the community? Nominate them here.

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