Though I Walk Through The Valley: David and Angie Hurt
Angie and David Hurt began their story with a blind date over fifteen years ago. Angie declared to a friend that she would like to date a racecar driver, and her friend set her up on a blind date with David. They fell in love, got married, and the rest of the story is still history in the making. They will celebrate their 16th wedding anniversary at the Cruisin’ the Coast car show with several other couples this October.
Their journey has been a challenging one – three months into their marriage Angie was hospitalized for an extremely rare autoimmune disease called Takayasu’s Arteritis – a disease that attacks the pulmonary system. She spent twelve days on life support and was given a two percent chance to live. Somehow, she made it through; but the experience would significantly alter their perspective on life.
“When you go through an experience like that in your early 20s, it changes you. It makes you evaluate what is important and what your priorities are. David and I were close before I became ill, but after that experience we were inseparable and have grown together more and more over the years,” Angie shares.
The couple decided that racecars were no longer a practical option for them, but they still wanted to have a vehicle they could have work on and have fun with. David heard about an old truck that used to be used for hauling pulpwood; Angie employed her sharp bargaining skills and brought the ’57 Chevy pickup home on a trailer around Christmas of 2005 for $400.
They worked on it non-stop for five months, with Angie taking apart the truck piece by piece and sanding it by hand until it was ready for a nice coat of flat black paint. Original paint from the multi-colored truck was sanded smooth and kept in tact on the Chevrolet emblem on the tailgate.
David worked on fabrication and mechanical components, dropping in the LS engine and 4L60E transmission from a wrecked 2001 GMC truck. Intake and exhaust manifolds were factory, but they added a dual stack system for the exhaust. Suicide doors were added, the truck was airbagged and lowered on four corners, and set on a ’79 C10 chassis.
On the inside, details like a Flaming River tilt column, Autometer gauges, air conditioning from Vintage Air, and custom seats from King’s Upholstery make it extra sweet. Additional touches on the truck include ’64 Impala taillights, chrome dog dish hubcaps, and a Mack bulldog shift knob.
Right after they finished work on the truck, they drove it 3100 miles on Power Tour 2006. “The paint was still wet in the bed. You know how I could tell? The bottom of our suitcases were the same color as the truck,” Angie chuckles.
When asked how they first became interested in cars, Angie simply stated that when she first started dating David, she knew nothing about cars. “Now I know everything! My car check engine display came up one day and I got right out on the side of the freeway and figured out my oil was low. So, I topped off the oil and got back in the car and we were on our way again. I was with my niece and she was like, ‘who are you?!’
David was raised in a single parent household, and his mom worked at a Chevy dealership. She took him to work with her and the mechanics were his babysitters. His childhood fun consisted of dismantling cars and putting them back together again.
Looking at the two of them, you would never guess that Angie struggles with her health. They are upbeat, positive, energetic, and constantly joking with each other and the people around them. In fact, it was their positivity and desire to help others that connected them with the Hot Rod Bus on Power Tour 2013.
“We were driving by and saw this old bus pulled over on a piece of road you wouldn’t normally stop if everything were okay. We (David and Angie) decided we would want someone to stop if we were in their shoes so we stopped to see what they needed,” says David.
Upon stopping, they were met by Dave Roland (bus owner) and Scott Davison (friend & mechanic). The Hurts were dismayed to discover that the bolt for the harmonic balancer had broken in half.
“We definitely didn’t have a spare one of those on our truck,” says David.
They were taken aback when Dave Roland pulled out a bunch of money and all but shoved it at them, saying “go to the store and get the part and we’ll get it fixed.” They had known him for all of two minutes.
When questioned about his decision, Dave simply says, “when they pulled up I noticed the paint on the tailgate said ‘Psalm 23:4.’ It put me at ease; I felt like they were supposed to be there.”
Within a relatively short period of time, they had fetched a new part and taken the front of The Bus apart and put it back together again, new harmonic balancer bolt in place.
“And they’ve been our Virginia cousins ever since!” Dave Roland says jovially. They talk regularly throughout the year so they can plan to be at the same car shows. They’ve even visited each other’s homes in their respective states of Tennessee and Virginia.
As the Hurts were being interviewed, David leaned forward in his chair and ceased his joking for a minute.
“You know, there’s a story behind Psalm 23:4 being painted on the back of our truck. Four years ago, I got in a horrible wreck. Look at this picture of the truck I was in. I ended up getting away from it and it caught on fire.
Our faith has protected us and gotten us through everything. I had to go through five months of physical therapy but I’m okay now. God is real and prayer works.”
Angie adds, “When you write this story – I just want people to know that despite everything we’ve been through we are blessed. We are so blessed.”
When the doctors diagnosed Angie, they never told her how long she had to live. She takes steroids everyday and was hospitalized a couple of weeks ago because she ate some fruit from Kroger (of all places) that had a parasite on them. Since her immune system is suppressed, any little thing can attack her body and be potentially fatal.
“We don’t take things for granted. I don’t know how long I have. I want experiences over things any day; I want to travel and see things. I’m thankful that David and I are best friends. Faith really has gotten us through everything, and I really do believe in the power of prayer.”
Angie and David are an inspiration. Seeing their tenderness and kindness towards each other after almost 16 years of marriage and witnessing their strength, hope, and joy is a special experience.
Angie’s courage is beautiful; despite her health setbacks she has decided against being fearful and housebound and instead lives a life that is full and good. Her laughter rings clearly and regularly through the air and reflects the One who has protected, provided, healed, and continues to give life.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” – Psalm 23:4, NKJV