Lee Eversole and Willis Little had a combined personal mission of saving a piece of American Military history from the scrap pile and so along with Paul Cler, Don Foster, Sherman Arnold, Ron Hunt, Lee Clossen, Don Hays, Garrett Eversole, and Dean Quick they moved the Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star Airplane and parked it as a monument on Main Street in Villa Grove in the early 1980's. Cler & Sons Machine and Welding also provided the heavy lift crane, and set the aircraft on the pedestal which Cletus Andrews Welding and Machine Company of Villa Grove welded and Herman Bade and Sons donated and poured the concrete for.
Eversole and Little were laughing a little as they looked at each other in this picture in 2015 standing under the T-33A, that they rescued and moved to Villa Grove along with the help of the other Villa Grove men, and chuckled as they admitted that yes, this was a large part of their legacy they would leave to Villa Grove, this old airplane, and that no, this had probably not been done before. Most of the men in the original picture from the 1980's were already gone as they spoke that day, and Eversole and Little are gone now also; the only survivors of the group now are Ron Hunt, Don Foster and Sherman Arnold, but the plane remains behind as all of their legacy.
Lee, who was a US Army Veteran, says that he got the idea of bringing the plane to Villa Grove when he realized that the plane, which was located at University of Illinois Institute of Aviation at Williard Airport in Savoy for engine and hydraulic training, was going to be cut up and disposed of as scrap metal after it was decided that the plane had too much engine noise.
He says he had seen a similar aircraft mounted in a flying position on display so he knew that it could be done.
Word got to Willis Little of Villa Grove who owned a wide load trailer and semi tractor. “Things were different then than they are now. “ Lee said that summer day talking to his old friend and reminiscing. Willis, looking over at him shook his head in silent agreement. “If you needed help back then people would line up to help. Not only that, you didn't even have to ask. It's not like that anymore.”
So, with a lot of teamwork, and one common goal Lee said he “and a group of Villa Grove guys who were very determined were able to complete their mission. “