From the Archives, August 15, 2021

Old Blue

Parnell-Craig staff in the late 1980s and 1990s were quite familiar with Kerry Parker’s blue Ford truck named “Gertie.” Gertie’s last summer in full service was 1997, but in recent years, Gertie has returned to Boxwell for various projects and was even part of the 2018 staff photos for Stahlman, Craig, and the Administrative staff. But Gertie was not the first old blue truck.

We’ve explained the old work trucks at Boxwell before (October 6, 2013), but we haven’t spoken much before about Gertie’s immediate predecessor: Old Blue, sometimes known as the Blue Goose. Old Blue was also a large Ford truck, but she was an F6 instead of an F5. And while there were several differences between the two trucks–larger engine in Old Blue, cab lights and large side view mirrors on Gertie–the main difference was in the bed. Old Blue had a dump bed, which allowed for firewood prank on Stahlman staff.

Both trucks were the rebuilt children of Kerry Parker, who fell in love with the trucks when on staff in the 1960s. Tom Willhite sold off the original trucks in the mid-1970s as the camp transitioned to the more practical tractors, but Parker still wanted a truck. Finding one in Pikeville, Parker bought the truck and dragged in back to Gallatin. And thus, Old Blue made its first appearance at Boxwell at the 1983 Staff Reunion, where it was used to give tours during the day. Craig’s Program Director Jerry Barnett asked Parker to bring the truck back for take down and from that point forward, Old Blue was a regular fixture at Boxwell. She stayed in regular service until about 1988 when she was replaced by Gertie.

Seen here is Old Blue at Camp Craig helping with takedown, most likely in 1983.

Old Blue during Takedown
Old Blue (sometimes called the Blue Goose) during Craig’s take-down in the early 1980s.

Want to learn more about Boxwell history? Buy the first Boxwell history book, For the Good of the Program, available for pre-order until August 31, 2021 here:

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