Soap Box Derby Car a Team Effort
Building a soap box derby car from scratch was a new experience for these Vietnam War veterans.
"There was scrapwood all over the place," said Gene DiGiacomo, our Staten Islander of the Week. "We didn't know what we were doing. If you could see the scrap of plywood that we left."
After several months of planning and construction, they managed to turn pieces of wood into a full-fledged derby car.
This week, they gave the finished product the final stamp of approval.
"It's amazing. I never, never thought it would look anything like this," said DiGiacomo.
They created the car specifically for children with disabilities at PS 57.
"It's really fun," said a student with special needs.
The school is gearing up for Sunday's New York City Soap Box Derby in Central Park.
The vets worked alongside students each week to build the vehicle ahead of the big race.
"They welcomed us, they worked beautifully with the kids. They're so patient and they're also very excited about this car," said Patricia Lockhart, the school's science teacher and derby club leader.
The special, 2-seat car will be used in the event's "Super Kids" race designed for students with special needs.
The kids will go along for the ride as an experienced student driver sits behind the wheel.
"I can just picture the two sitting in the car and the smiles and the happiness that it brings them," said Frank Russo, our Staten Islander of the Week.
And they'll be riding in style, thanks to the owner of Nu-Dimensions Auto Body shop.
He and his crew painted the car free of charge and under the wire as well.
"I knew I only had a week and a half to get it done and that's when the bullets started coming down," said Steve Ciriaco, our Staten Islander of the Week.
Students say they can't wait to take their new car to the track.
"I'm gonna win," said one student.
And so, for keeping children with special needs on-track for success, everyone who made the "Superkids" car come to life are our Staten Islanders of the Week.