SOUTHGATE, Mich. (WXYZ) - The honor guards at the VFW post in Southgate say they’ve haven’t been able to function normally for the last couple of months.
They’ve been forced to cope without an important member of their family -- a 2008 Ford E-450.
The honor guards use the 20-seater bus to safely get to funerals and cemeteries, where they volunteer their time to salute fallen servicemen.
Many of the guards are between 80 and 90 years old and no longer drive.
But on memorial day weekend of this year, the vehicle they’ve come to depend on to get around -- broke down.
Then, just four days after picking it up from Downriver Bus & Truck Repair, they say the vehicle needed to be serviced again after it wouldn't start.
There was seemingly another issue with the van, but this time, the veterans say they were left in the dark about what was really wrong and how long it would take to get it fixed.
The vehicle had been there for over a month. After our taking action team reached out to the shop for answers, they did provide a detailed explanation.
They say they were working it in “between jobs the best [they] could...” spread thin with only... “two mechanics”
Acknowledging the inconvenience, the shop knocked $500 off the $1500 price tag and most importantly, got the bus completed.
But just a day after our Channel 7 news team watched the honor guards happily drive it off the lot, another issue hit. The car was taken back to the shop.
After being released for the third time, the car ran smoothly for a day, and then again, ran into another problem. As of right now, the car will not start.
In researching the issue, Channel 7 has has learned that there is a much deeper problem with the vehicle. The E-450 has an engine that has been discontinued by Ford and has been reported to be defective.
The mechanic tells Channel 7 that the honor guards are going to continue to have issues with the vehicle going forward.
The honor guards say they're looking to purchase another vehicle but do not have the funds and they're asking for viewer help.