Military Vehicle Collector Hopes to Educate, Preserve Veteran Stories Through Interactive Museum

Nov 12, 2019, 10:13 PM | Updated: 10:23 pm

OREM, Utah — Two of Vernon Stout’s passions in life came together in a way that he hadn’t quite expected. Having lived in some 32 different countries as a youth while his father served in the Air Force, he said he grew up with a sense of patriotism. It’s something he said he found not so many teenagers had when he attended his last year of high school in Utah.

“I got to know a lot of people at Orem High,” Stout said. “And (I) realized that a lot of the people my age didn’t have an understanding of freedom and patriotism and the things that were going on the world to protect the freedoms that they had.”

Stout also grew up with a love for cars, and those two interests came together sometime after he got married.

“I always wanted a Dodge power wagon,” Stout said. “And so my wife actually found me a 1951 Dodge M-37, which is the military version of a power wagon.”

After restoring the vehicle, Stout said he made a discovery while driving it through town.

Stout’s restored M-37.

“An old man ran out of his house, he was 89 years old, and started chasing me down the street,” Stout said, explaining that the man asked if he could come for a ride. He agreed.

“He jumped on the rear tire, and got into the back of the truck, and then proceeded to tell me about how the last time he was in one of these vehicles was when he drove it across the 38th parallel at the end of the Korean War,” Stout said.

The ability to learn the stories of veterans through military vehicles became somewhat infectious. Stout also learned he could teach others through those stories he was able to hear.

“Every time I took out the vehicle, I had this opportunity to teach young kids, and listen to the stories of veterans, and the kids loved it,” he said.

Some 30 vehicles and thousands of pieces of wartime artifacts later, Stout has now formed a non-profit organization with a few dozen other collectors like him, called the Freedom Vehicles Association. The group sets up displays at various events each year.

(Courtesy Vernon Stout)

“When we have a car sitting there when we have artifacts sitting there, all of a sudden these veterans start to open up, they start to tell their story,” Stout said. “This kind of opened up the way for me to have a venue to teach people about freedom.”

Stout’s vehicles are now packed away for the winter in various garages between two homes and a parking lot. He said his organization would ultimately like to have a place to keep the vehicles on permanent display, both for patriotic and educational purposes.

The plan is to call it Victory Park, USA. Stout said it would serve as a sort of adventure park, where visitors can see vehicles and artifacts from different wars and ideally help teach children about applications for important core school topics.

“Without science, technology, engineering and math, we wouldn’t have the technology to be able to defend ourselves,” Stout said.

Potential donors and volunteers can reach stout at vstout@freedomvehicles.org.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

SL County Sheriff Rosie Rivera John Patterson...
Jed Boal

Three in Salt Lake County given awards by sheriff’s association

SALT LAKE CITY — Law enforcement is a challenging job these days, especially with staffing shortages and more violent offenders on the streets and in jail. Three members of the Salt Lake County Sherriff‘s Office received awards last week from the Utah Sheriffs’ Association for the excellent leadership they show in their jobs. The award […]
19 hours ago
Shara Park

Two members of Utah Task Force 1 help in aftermath of hurricane Ian

As the east coast continues to battle Tropical Storm Ian, two members of Utah Task Force 1 are in Florida are helping.
19 hours ago
Eliza Pace

LDS missionaries in Florida are safe following hurricane

FLORIDA — All missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Florida are safe and accounted for after Hurricane Ian pummeled the coast near Cayo Costa. Ian makes landfall in southwest Florida as Category 4 storm Sam Penrod, a spokesman for the church said, “At the moment, all missionaries are safe in […]
19 hours ago
Brooke Williams

Attempted kidnapping near Utah junior high has school, police warning parents

Attempted kidnapping in Taylorsville near junior high school is being investigated.
19 hours ago
Jordan Valinsky, CNN Business

McDonald’s is selling Happy Meals to adults 

McDonald's has a new happy meal for adults - with a special twist.
19 hours ago
The panel discussed how the Utah Inland Port can be a leader in solving the supply chain crisis.(KS...
Carter Williams

2nd Utah inland port audit blasts lack of ‘transparency and accountability’ in contracts

A second audit of Utah Inland Port Authority practices emphasizes again that the agency should adjust its contract agreement policy.
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Military Vehicle Collector Hopes to Educate, Preserve Veteran Stories Through Interactive Museum