Two weeks to live. When doctors pass John Stawarz the dreadful diagnosis in 2015, upon learn simply 8% of his nerve was working after two heart attacks, the San Clemente resident needed to figure out what to do with his belongings.
The longtime San Onofre surfer yielded away his boards, but even harder to depart with was the 1947 Dodge he and “his fathers” bought when he was 15.
Stawarz wanted his beloved gondola to have a purpose, so he donated it to a nonprofit that learns at-risk youths how to restore aged vehicles.
But here’s the thing about his terminal diagnosis: It was about five years ago- and it was wrong.
And boy, did he miss his old ride.
SoundThe gallery will now resume inseconds
Show Caption of
Expand New rental on life
The Dodge had a blown engine and wasn’t running — simply sitting and compiling dust at an age-old storage ground in Bellflower. Stawarz’s dad, Simon, offered $80 for the car back in the mid-‘ 70 s, a project for him and his sons, John and older brother Wayne.
With friends, they pulled out the engine and rehabilitated it. After a year working to get it racing, the car went to John. It made him on numerous outings: First through their Cypress neighborhood, then down Valley View Street to Pacific Coast Highway and the beach. Last-minute, it jeopardized from the South Bay to San Diego on channel-surf safaris.
Stawarz held onto the Dodge into adulthood because it reminded him of working on it with his father , now 86.
And it was nice to look at. As automobiles from this era became more rare on the road, it turned headings. “Driving this is like being in a fish bowl, ” John Stawarz, 60, said.
But those drives searching for surf along Southern California’s coast came to a stop after the two heart attacks and his terminal diagnosis.
“He literally thought he wasn’t going to make it, ” said Wayne Stawarz. “It’s something he had to do in the situation he was in. But he’s a fighter, as we are all familiar with- he’s still here.”
Brand-new locomotive for the motorist, extremely
Like the car after its instrument was replaced, a middle graft applied Stawarz a brand-new loan on life.
He was soon back at his favorite coast, where he was a longtime member of the San Onofre Surfing Club, in the months following his heart attack accompanied by a machine stopping his centre pumping.
Still, something was missing. He’d talk fondly about his old car, the rememberings it held.
His surf sidekicks knew he needed to be reunited with his first love- so they grew fund to buy it back.
Stawarz had donated the Dodge to the Lost Angels Children’s Project , a Lancaster-based nonprofit that caters low-income and high-risk youths with a vocational after-school program. The destination is the development of critical idea, a collaboration mentality, and skill sets that can be used kids build a future, said founder Aaron Valencia.
Through the years, the students worked on the Dodge by taking the body off and welding it back on, including airbags, utilizing it for task plans for quality control and team work. But once Valencia heard Stawarz had survived and his channel-surf sidekicks wanted to surprise him by buying the car back, he knew the Dodge had to go back to its rightful owner.
The surf club raised the question as to $3,500 for parts and to purchase back the car, terminated with a new motor.
“We simply had to get this thing back to him ,” Valencia said.” A pile of durations if you commit something apart, it’s gone. To be able to give something back, it’s super cool.”
On Feb. 1, Stawarz set about his regular Saturday routine — a morning at San Onofre watching waves before breakfast with the channel-surf team tribe. But a startle launching was in store.
Everyone except Stawarz and his dad were in on the surprise to unveil his old Dodge on the sand.
“We’re really happy we have him, we thought we lost him, ” Jim Wynne, a friend of Stawarz’s, said before the unveiling. “We thought it was a done deal. To have him, we’re so grateful.”
Friend George Laich helped orchestrate the car’s return. “He lives every day. He’s exactly grateful for every day ,” he said.” It’s really spreads. To realise what he’s been through — he restrains a positive attitude.”
Wedding reverberate was lost for months at Dana Point beach — until a follower forearmed with a metal detector scooped it up
Crystal Cove could get$ two million boost from position to help restore historic cottages
Shark, bird, sunset in same fire winnings Palos Verdes Estates teacher begrudged photo accolade
Extreme low tide discover a spectacular underwater nature
Downward goat? Yogis find solace by the sea at Newport Beach festival
As Laich backed the car into a parking recognize where Stawarz stood, the crowd of a few dozen had smiles on their faces, ruptures in their seeings and cameras out to capture the moment. It made a few seconds to sink in, Stawarz staring at the car as Laich pulled up in front of him.
” Here’s your trip, brother, ” said friend Kurt Winn, as Laich entrust Stawarz the keys.
Stawarz took a gradual stroll around the car to scrutinize his old ride, shocked as he soaked in the moment. Had he is well aware of this, he joked, he wouldn’t have wasted all his fund on a brand-new Harley.
He sat in his case, reminiscing about all the days spent with the incubate open, staring out at waves.
Stawarz has three surgical procedures scheduled for the coming month- two heart surgeries and a hernia removal — but now he has something to look forward to after he recovers. Previously, his sentiment was racing about sprucing up the Dodge — with inner-door panels and old-fashioned insularity. He and his father talked about how to get the rust off the bumpers.
“I have a lot of work ahead of me, ” Stawarz said, previously dreaming about the end-of-summer car show in Ventura.” All I can say is, I’m speechless. Thank you, everyone.”
Read more: ocregister.com.