Jerry Loeb’s love of cars bloomed even before he was old enough to drive.

The U.S. Air Force veteran began working on cars before he even got his license, and once that happened, he put the proverbial – and literal – pedal to the metal as a drag racer and kept it there.

With his 1964 Plymouth and other now-classic cars, Loeb put up record speeds at his local track and developed into the man known as “a proud patriot, a fierce competitor, a loyal friend, a no-nonsense leader, a gifted mechanic, and a naturally talented race car driver.”

The 35-year veteran of Vietnam – who was also stationed at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001 – is currently in hospice at the Lebanon VA Medical Center, where staff helped fulfill Loeb’s wish of seeing once-again his black rag-top classic convertible.

Loeb’s friends fulfilled the veteran’s wish and then some. Friend Allen Kohr arranged to bring out Loeb’s race car, along with nearly 100 other head-turning vehicles owned and driven by local auto enthusiasts. Last week, on a beautiful summer evening, the convoy came out to give Loeb a vehicular salute worthy of the retired Chief Master Sergeant.

Said one car owner to the VA: “We owe our freedom to Lobe (Jerry’s nickname) and all the other Veterans. It’s all about them. We want them to know we care, and we haven’t forgotten them.”

Jerry Loeb at center, surrounded by family and friends. Loeb’s daughter is behind him in the white shirt and his wife behind him in the gray shirt. At the event, his daughter got to take a lap in Loeb’s race car. (Provided photo)
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