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Group restores rusted Ford to surprise Newfolden pastor

NEWFOLDEN, Minn. -Members of the Newfolden Evangelical Free Church "ManCave" men's group never thought they would find their pastor, the Rev. Gary Barrett, at a loss for words.

From left, the Rev. Gary Barrett, Randy Rose and Jason Johnson. Submitted photos by David Cruse

NEWFOLDEN, Minn. –Members of the Newfolden Evangelical Free Church “ManCave” men’s group never thought they would find their pastor, the Rev. Gary Barrett, at a loss for words.

But that’s just what happened earlier this month when Barrett returned from a short vacation and discovered his rusted 1989 Ford 150 pickup restored to mint condition.

“I had no clue, whatsoever,” Barrett said, “and they roll in this old, beat-up pickup, and it’s so sweet, so cool. I was humbled. I was honored.”

Before he left for vacation, Barrett had given the pickup keys to Randy Rose, a local farmer who likes to tinker with vehicles, who had offered to replace a leaking gas tank with another used tank.

“One of the guys had an idea that we should fix the pastor’s pickup,” Rose said. “It just sort of grew from there. We approached some area businesses to help out. Then, a bunch of guys got together and boom, boom, boom.”


About 15 ManCave members disassembled the truck, repairing the rust and replacing parts that had corroded or simply had worn out. As many as eight of them at a time sanded the truck box after it was removed from the body. They also removed most of the chrome.

The majority of work was done at Johnson’s Paint & Repair in Karlstad, Minn., Rose said.

The truck was leaking power steering fluid. It needed new shocks, some front-end work and other repairs. The crew also installed new tires, wheels and a new bumper with a hitch to haul the pastor’s boat, according to Rose.

“I have an interest in cars,” he said, “So do some of the others in the group, so this was an easy thing to get going. We all chipped in some money.”

The ManCave


The ManCave is a group of men who have been gathering for fellowship a couple of times a month for about the past eight years, according to Barrett.


Numbering about 18 to 25 at any time, they meet in a former youth room that moved after a church addition was built several years ago. They play pool, pingpong, darts or other games and participate in Bible study.

They also have annual or semi-annual events, such as fishing trips or serving Sunday dinner at the church.

“It’s very much a relationship-building experience with a great group of guys who are growing in faith together,” said Barrett, who has been at the church for 20 years.

The surprise


The men met the deadline, finishing the project before Barrett returned home. They also planned a Christmas party at Rose’s farm home and invited the pastor, with the idea of surprising him with the pickup.

“I thought I was getting a pickup back with a new gas tank,” said Barrett, adding he paid $750 for it about a year ago to use for hunting or when he needs to haul something around town.


“It runs great,” he said.

One of the group’s finishing touches was an addition to the front quarter-panels, right under the “F-150 XLT Lariat” insignia, of another logo: “ManCave Edition.”

“It’s the nicest vehicle I have had or will ever own,” Barrett said.

He has driven it only a couple of times since it was completed, one of them a trip to Thief River Falls to do some errands.

“A man came up to me and said ‘I think that’s the nicest vehicle in town,’” he said. “What a testament to the great guys who built this.”

The Rev. Gary Barrett'S pickup truck. Submitted photos by David Cruse

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