SCOTT Monto was sitting in his den one night a few years ago, watching “The 9/11 Conspiracies: Fact or Fiction” on The History Channel. Monto, general manager of New Jersey-based Arrow Fuel, had stood on the top of his oil truck at Center Point Terminal in Port Newark and watched the World Trade Center towers collapse in a horrifying heap on that transcendent day, and this show jump-started a brainstorming session.
He thought about all the children who had been born since Sept. 11, 2001. What did they know? Did they really understand what happened and who had perished?
He grabbed a piece of paper and started sketching a truck similar to one in his Arrow Fuel fleet, which delivers heating oil and diesel to a five-county area in northern New Jersey.
“I knew I couldn't put all the people's names on the truck that died that day, so I decided to focus on what most people don't know about- the passengers and crew who died on the flights,” he says, referring to American Airlines Flight 77, American Flight 11, United Airlines Flight 175, and United Flight 93-the flight that crashed in Pennsylvania after some of the 40 passengers stormed the cockpit to prevent the plane from destroying its target.
Monto started with a 2010 Peterbilt 335 he had previously purchased from Girard Equipment, which is headquartered in Manalapan and Linden, New Jersey, and is a leading builder of road tanker equipment and the only manufacturer of tank container equipment in North America.
The Peterbilt is very similar in specifications to two other trucks Girard has provided to Arrow: a 260 Cummins engine with Allison's automatic transmission, a high-level interior, aluminum package outside (wheels, tanks, bumper, grille), 32 red, white, and blue LEDs on the bumpers and fenders, Roadmaster stainless steel, a 2,800-gallon tank, electronic LS meter, and full chrome dash package.
Monto consulted with Girard general manager Craig Marturano on the design for the back of the truck and then hired G1 Graphics of Newark. Monto told production manager Andrew Marich the theme and roughly what he wanted, and Marich came up with the design, using Adobe Illustrator. Marich needed a day to print and cure the 3M vinyl, then laminate it with 3M gloss. Two full work days were needed to apply the vinyl.
On the back of the tank are two running lights and two brake lights, covered with glass filaments to obscure the brake lights so as not to distract from the mural on the back — which includes pictures of the World Trade Center and Statue of Liberty. Above that, it says, ROLLING MEMORIAL. ALWAYS REMEMBER. The names of those 255 people who perished on all four flights are superimposed over a rippling American flag. On the bumper, the words, GROUND ZERO. ALWAYS REMEMBER 9/11.
The sides of the tank have an American flag with the Arrow logo superimposed over it. The front of the truck includes patches from the New York Police Department, Port Authority, and Fire Department, and the phrase, “Let's Roll!” which was uttered by flight 93 passenger Todd Beamer.
The hood of the truck contains the American flag, flanked by Flight 93 references above each wheel.
“We called it Flight 93 because of the passengers taking back the plane,” Monto says. “It was America's first battle won against the terrorists. Even though the passengers lost their lives, they saved thousands of more lives that day.
“It's tastefully done — not too gaudy or disrespectful. It's a nice presentation for the whole day.”
Says Marturano, “It's important for us because I think September 11 was something that affected everybody, and we're coming up on the 10th anniversary. The general theme we all came away with was to never forget. Getting involved with this truck keeps it in the forefront.”
Arrow commissioned Girard Equipment to design the truck to commemorate next year's 10th anniversary of 9/11, but it is also intended to raise awareness for two local charities, Tuesday's Children and the Vincent G Halloran Fund for Children.
Marturano says that as a family-owned business, Girard cherishes the chance to partner with these charities, both of which were established to serve the needs of children and families.
The non-profit family service organization Tuesday's Children has made a long-term commitment to help those who were directly impacted by the events of 9/11, as well as others impacted by global terrorism. The organization has partnered with recognized leaders in the fields of child development and family advocacy to develop an innovative platform of programs designed to address the ongoing needs of thousands of children trying to cope.
Also, established to support those affected by 9/11, the Vincent G Halloran Fund for Children is a non-profit foundation that organizes three annual events a year to raise money for a variety of children's causes. Vincent Halloran, a lieutenant of Ladder Company 8 in the Tribeca area of Manhattan, left behind five sons and his pregnant wife, Maria, when he was killed in the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
“It is truly an honor to support these two wonderful organizations whose efforts are so inspiring and meaningful,” Marturano says. “Designing the 9/11 tribute truck is just one small way to keep the memory of bravery alive, and raise awareness for important charities.”
“When we started thinking of building the truck, we decided that not integrating with some sort of charity would be fruitless. Tuesday's Children was a perfect match. Our commitment will last long beyond the building of this vehicle.”
Monto says he feels like a celebrity when he drives the truck.
“People actually cheer me on when I drive it,” he says. “It's amazing. People blow horns and take pictures with camera phones at stop lights. Initially, people were blowing horns and I was thinking, ‘Something's wrong.’ I had never been cheered driving an oil truck. But if you see this truck, you have to stop. It grabs you. It's taken on a life of its own. It really has.”
Arrow has used the truck primarily for display purposes. It won Best of Show at a competition in Suffix County, New York, and Monto plans to take it to a show at the Charlotte raceway in North Carolina.
“Right now, it does nothing,” he says. “It's in the Newark office in the garage. It's a brand-new $120,000 truck, but we have a lot of trucks, and I feel like I can't get the truck dirty or I would be disrespecting the whole event.
“No one wants to drive it because it has a $4500 lettering job. I tell the drivers, ‘Anybody want to drive it? Take your passport so you have a head start in case you scratch it.’ I like trucks. I think trucks are the face of the company. If you pull a dirty truck in front of a house, it's dirty oil. If you have a clean truck, it's clean oil.”
Monto says he already is planning the next truck — a camouflage model to honor the Wounded Warriors Project, which raises awareness and enlists the public's aid for the needs of severely injured service men and women.
“These guys come home with missing legs and mental problems,” he says. “We have to appreciate what people do overseas. We take a lot of things for granted in this world.”