George & Wendy Show

Wendy Parker

Stunning New Mexico military tribute tanker from owner-operator Grant Maxey

| October 02, 2016

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During the shooting of film footage for the upcoming Tony Justice “Stars, Stripes and White Lines” video, we had the pleasure and honor of running with Grant Maxey and the 1988 Heil tanker he’s had painted with a stunning tribute to the veterans of America.

That’s right, I said painted.

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The passenger-side depiction of a battleship on Maxey's tank is meant to be the USS Arizona, now a memorial at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Maxey has depicted it as an operational vessel.

The passenger-side depiction of a battleship on Maxey’s tank is meant to be the USS Arizona, now a memorial at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Maxey has depicted it as an operational vessel.

Maxey is a veteran of the Navy, and hauls fuel as a leased owner-operator out of Farmington, N.M., for Thriftway Fuels. One of his primary runs is to supply the Navajo reservation in Arizona, although he yanks the tribute tank as far up as the Salt Lake City, Utah, area and occasionally around El Paso and Tuscon.

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After leaving the military, Grant went directly back to trucking, which was his first love. A chauffeur’s license at age eighteen didn’t allow him to cross state lines, but joining the Navy did, so he followed the footsteps of his father and grandfather and signed up for active duty.

It took him a few years, but his desire to have a canvas big enough to offer a fitting tribute to America’s veterans was strong, and the hard work paid off last summer. In July of 2015, he rolled out the “All Gave Some, Some Gave All” tribute tanker, hand painted by Adrian Vigil at Airgraphics in Farmington, NM. 

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The tank’s driver side is dedicated to Maxey’s father-in-law father-in-law, a Vietnam veteran.

Detail of the driver-side inscription

Detail of the driver-side inscription

Maxey bought the 1988 Heil tanker in much rougher condition, but with the help of Largo Tank and Equipment in Farmington, he refurbished and customized the tanker exactly as he wanted it, right down to the reflex lining and 375 holes they drilled for him to install chicken lights in.

From there, the tank went to Ron at Jamrs Inc. Custom Chrome in Bloomfield, N.M., where it was paint-prepped, base-coated and made ready for customization. The tanker proved to be too large for the booth at Airgraphics, so Ron worked with Adrian, and he did the airbrush graphics in the Jamrs booth.

The tanker's front is dedicated to U.S. soldiers that never came back from foreign wars, showing the POW-MIA isignia.

The tanker’s front is dedicated to U.S. soldiers that never came back from foreign wars, showing the POW-MIA isignia.

All I can say is that the pictures don’t even do it justice. The artwork and skill involved in this tanker is just incredible. Hats off to Adrian Vigil — he is truly a master at his medium. Two weeks of long days in the paint booth resulted in what can only be described as an exquisite tribute to the men and women of our armed forces.

And that’s all Maxey wanted from it. He doesn’t want recognition for his tanker, he wants his tanker to represent and remind people that the veterans are often forgotten, and it’s important to honor and respect their sacrifice and give them the glory they deserve.

“They’re the reason I’m able to have something like this,” he says. “It represents why I served and why these people sacrificed and served before me. And they are so often forgotten. I think it’s important to remind people to remember them.”

I can promise you that once you see this tanker, you won’t forget it. Thanks for the beautiful tribute, Grant, it’s wonderful example of art you can enjoy on an every day basis, as well as pay respect with.

The word "Deni" and symbols on the back represent the word "Navajo" in native language and symbol is for the Navajo code talkers.

The word “Dine” and symbols on the back represent the word “Navajo” in native language and symbol is for the Navajo code talkers.

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