ABA Banking Journal - November 2013 - (Page 52)

first person William Bauer Chairman and chief welder Banker preserves military vehicles for future generations For William H. Bauer, Jr., collecting and restoring military vehicles has become more than a hobby-it's almost a full-time job. He balances restoring and maintaining vehicles with his job as chairman and trust officer of $225.2 million-assets First National Bank in Port Lavaca, Tex. Two people-a former customer and Brett Mullins, who runs a Jeep parts business and is president of the Museum of the American G.I.-were responsible for pulling Bauer into military vehicle restoration. Bauer accompanied the pair on a trip overseas to look for parts. "And that was a bad mistake," he jokes. "That's what got this olive drab paint going in my veins." Restoring vehicles-like this WWII Dodge Weapons Carrier Model WC-52-is a hobby Bauer came home with 27 WWII and an honor for William Bauer, who says "olive drab paint" runs through his veins. trailers (the kind pulled by Jeeps), what we call a 'nut-and-bolt restoraand the wheels of his hobby were officially rolling. tion.' That means every nut, every Soon after, he purchased and restored his first powered vehicle, a WWII bolt, every seal, every gear, every Willy's MB Jeep. He's since acquired ten more vehicles, including three tanks, bearing-everything comes apart and which he keeps in a climate-controlled, air-conditioned warehouse. Two of the gets cleaned up, sandblasted, replaced tanks are on display at the Museum of the American G.I. if necessar y, whatever it takes. Bauer has purchased only one of his vehicles overseas, a Vietnam War M38 So when they roll out of my shop, A1C with a 106 Recoilless Rifle, which he found in Greece. It took seven trips they're as good as when they came off to that country over a 13-month period to find and purchase the truck, along the assembly line in the 1940s." with the recoilless rifle. "There's no sightseeing in these deals; you go, and you Not only do the vehicles look work," says Bauer. assembly-line ready, but they run. The banker ran into a bit of a challenge getting the recoilless rifle home, Bauer is so busy restoring that it's not despite the fact that it was deactivated. "We had to cut it in three pieces so [The often he gets to take them for a ride. Bureau of] Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms [and Explosives] would be happy," he But they do come out every Veteran's says. "Then, when you get it back, you can put it back together." Day for the parade. "Some of the All of Bauer's other vehicles have come from the United States through word VFW, the American Legion, and the of mouth, scrap piles, or museum sales. But finding the vehicles is not an easy American G.I. Forum guys come and task. "Part of the problem is that during WWII, everything this country made drive for me. And some of the old, was shipped overseas," explains Bauer. "They didn't bring any of it back." old timers just ride-the WWII vetThe scarcity of these vehicles is part of the reason why Bauer spends so much erans," he says. "This whole program time and money preserving them-so that future generations can appreciate is to honor those people, because that them. He has a few people who help with the mechanicals and bodywork, and really was a heck of a generation." he often does the welding. But even with a group, the restorations are arduous. -Ashley Bray, contributing editor "Most of this stuff is pretty bad when you start restoring it," says Bauer. "I do 52 | ABA BANKING JOURNAL | November 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ABA Banking Journal - November 2013

Chairman's View
Editor's Column
The Economy
Picture This
Bank Notes
Will farmland prices hold up?
Tech Topics
What you do, amplified
Inside Farmer Mac
Meeting the challenge of identity theft
Compliance Clinic
Compliance Inbox
Pass the Aspirin
ABA At Your Service
First Person

ABA Banking Journal - November 2013

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