By Mason W. Canales
Harker Heights Herald
It is considered an icon to some, and if you frequent Harker Heights' Carl Levin Park, you've probably seen it at least once.
PK-01 - or "the Toyota" - to the Parks and Recreation staff is the oldest vehicle in the city's fleet.
The 1986 worn-white Toyota pickup truck, is one of three surviving Toyotas purchased at the same time. It has outlasted several trucks purchased after it, Fleet Maintenance Supervisor Horace Holden said.
"It is a good and dependable truck," Parks and Recreation maintenance crew member Braulio Torres said. "It starts every time."
Torres and another maintenance crew worker use the vehicle every day at Carl Levin Park. It helps pull their equipment throughout the 35 acres of passive recreation space, holds their tools, and sometimes hauls mulch for the two workers.
It always gets the job done, Torres said. Even with its age, it has made its way to Temple, Killeen and back.
Since 1986, the vehicle has had regular maintenance every 3,000 miles, Holden said. And during that time, the city has had to repair only the gear shift selector, the carburetor kit, the valve cover gasket and the alternator.
Even with the little bit of maintenance, the truck is not without its flaws, Torres said. But to him that is what makes the vehicle even more special.
"Of course, it has its character with the rust growing on it, but that is what makes it nice to look at," Torres said. "It has no radio, and it is a quiet ride. Unless you are singing to yourself, it is all about the hum of the engine."
The vehicle started out in the water department as a mode of transportation for the meter readers, Holden said. But in 1994 or 1995, it made the switch to parks and recreation.
Parks and recreation's crew members have helped to keep it up and running because of how much they care for the vehicle, Holden said.
Torres attributed the truck's longevity to the fleet maintenance staff.
"It always runs because of our maintenance team and everyone does their part to keep it going," Torres said. "It is a pretty pampered little truck."
The Toyota is the pride and joy of the Harker Heights Parks and Recreation Department.
"It is the vehicle of vehicles," Torres said. "It has provided 24 years of solid service to the city of Harker Heights."
Contact Mason W. Canales at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7554. Follow him on Twitter at KDHheights.