Employee blog: Uncle inspires employee to pursue his dreams
A love of classic cars forged a bond between Jeremy Hegfors and his uncle that only increased as they restored a 1968 Plymouth Barracuda. Now, Jeremy is honoring his uncle’s memory and supporting cancer research.
Who inspires your dreams?
For me, there are plenty of people who inspire my dreams, but there isn’t anyone quite like my Uncle Dale.
Dale lived in Ely, Minnesota for most of his life. This small town is where he made an impact on the lives of friends and family. Ely is where Dale began the hobby that would have the biggest influence on me and set the path for my dream.
My love for classic cars started with influence from both my father and Dale. They both restored a 1940 Ford Sedan while I was growing up. We would take this car to the Back to the ‘50s car show at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds every summer. Because of the car shows we attended, and Dale always having cool classic cars around, it quickly became my dream to have a classic car of my own.
I purchased my multi-colored 1968 Plymouth Barracuda based on the recommendation of my uncle. Because he had 32 cars during his lifetime, I figured he would be a good source for what kind of collector car I should buy.
Although the car didn’t look too flattering at first, it didn’t take long for my dad, uncle and me to tear it apart for the rebuilding process. The first couple years were filled with ups and downs, which I learned quickly is typical in this restoration process.
Dale helped replace the entire front suspension of the car. He also helped with one of my favorite features of this build. The same AM radio that came with the car in 1968 was rewired to support Bluetooth and still maintain the vintage look. Dale and I wired the radio and speakers so I could enjoy the car as I was building it. It was important to Dale that I have a car that I could enjoy and work on at the same time. Most of his projects didn’t work out that way, so the Barracuda became a dream of both of ours.
In 2014, Dale was diagnosed with two different types of cancer. One was fast moving, while the other was slow moving. Up to this year, things were going well, until he started with chemotherapy, which ended up making things worse.
Quickly, Dale went from graduating from the hospice program to moving into the nursing home in Ely and eventually passing away. But even though Dale is gone, his dreams live on through me.
This fall, I am participating in the Chainbreaker bike tour in Minnesota in honor of Dale. American Family’s Eden Prairie office is supporting me with a Peloton team named the AmFam Roadrunners in this bike tour. This name is also in honor of Dale, because we both shared a love of Plymouth Roadrunner cars.
All money raised will go to the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota. I also have a strong desire to start a car show charity event in Dale’s honor.
This is a new dream of mine inspired by the greatest uncle I could have asked for.