Ford truck fan, 7, grows up to drive Super Duty in Thanksgiving Parade

2 months ago Detroit Free Press

Ford truck fan, 7, grows up to drive Super Duty in Thanksgiving Parade

Gigette Bejin of Northville fired off an email at 11:59 p.m. Thanksgiving Eve, overjoyed that that her husband would be riding in America's Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit on the new Ford float that spotlights the all-new Super Duty he helped create.

"It's a dream come true," she wrote.

Bejin shared images on Facebook from her husband's childhood, including a first grade class assignment from 1978.

Peter Bejin, at age 7 and living in Grosse Pointe Woods, wrote (unedited): "If I drove a truck, I would like to drive a ford truck because I think a ford truck wud be good and becuse a ford truck is good for me and thae mace Ford trucks good and thae drive good and smoth. and thae are so good you shod drive one. how do you like my story?"

He accompanied his essay with a drawing of a black truck.

Teacher Kathleen Squillace at St. Joan of Arc School in St. Clair Shores sent the items to Ford Motor Co., which praised the work as "imaginative and well done. We think the story's great!"

Peter Bejin, 53, has been at Ford for 28 years now. He carpooled with Andrew Kernahan, chief engineer on the Super Duty project, as well as Aaron Bresky and David Rodgers to Detroit for the parade

"This is the beating heart of the Super Duty program right here," Bejin told the Free Press while sipping coffee in front of a Marathon gas station before his start in the parade.

Back to the future

Bresky, who knew as a child he would build trucks one day, said Thanksgiving is a time to honor the past and people who have inspired children like him. "This is a time for us to reminisce ... and be grateful for all we have."

Two little boys who loved trucks being in the parade together, celebrating the 119-year-old automaker, feels like coming full circle, they said.

"I was a little kid who loved Ford trucks," said Bejin, the features and software integration manager for Super Duty.

"My goal wasn't always to work at Ford, it just ended up working out that way. I wasn't like Aaron Bresky, where I knew all along," Bejin said laughing.

While the Ford F-150 full-size pickup often dominates the headlines, a bestselling truck that sits in millions of driveways, the heavy-duty Super Duty pickups are what really print cash for Ford. The Super Duty is used in various commercial industries, including utility companies, emergency response, mining and quarry, forestry and construction.

These rugged Super Duty trucks are built for really heavy towing, hauling, plowing, and off-road driving for work.

The 2023 Ford F-Series Super Duty trucks, which go on sale early next year, are built by UAW members at the Kentucky Truck Plant nearby, as well as the Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake.

During the parade, Bejin told the Free Press, "Everybody is pointing to the step!"

He's referring to new design feature that allows people access the truck bed without lowering the tailgate.

Detroit Lions, too

In addition to spotlighting the Super Duty, Thanksgiving will be spent cheering for the Detroit Lions, Bejin said.

"It’s just been great to watch the Lions do so well and to see them have this success," he said. "I don’t think it's just the people of Detroit. I think everybody loves it, right?"

More:2023 Ford Super Duty engineer made dream come true after teacher laughed at it

More:Her family has worked for Ford for 100 years. Now she's part of F-150 Lightning launch.

More:She is chief engineer of all-electric Ford F-150, leading a revolution

Contact Phoebe Wall Howard: 313-618-1034 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @phoebesaid
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