EAST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, one East Haven man decorated his pickup truck with symbols of hope and community pride and took to the streets to share that message.
When the pandemic hit, Michael Roy took action; he decorated his pickup truck with a row of American flags along the back and multiple ‘East Haven Proud’ stickers – and took to the streets, playing what he calls ‘USA proud’ music for his neighbors.
Roy says his mission is simple.
“It’s me driving by letting them know that they’re not technically home alone,” he said. “We’re all in this together. We’re all one community.”
People quickly took notice and began to look forward to the uplifting tunes, so Roy began doing these drive-bys nightly.
“He’s just brought life to the community, to East Haven, to us during these trying times when we’re all stuck in our homes,” said Debbie Nordmann, an East Haven resident who enjoys the patriotic tribute whenever it comes around.
Residents aren’t the only ones who took notice. The McDermott Chevrolet dealership in town offered Roy one of their trucks, with all of the same decorations, to continue spreading positivity.
Jack Dinuzzo, a business manager at the McDermott Chevrolet, says the decision to help was an easy one to make.
“We saw what Mike was doing, he’s a real inspiration to the town,” he said. “What he’s doing is great.”
And the truck does more than just spread East Haven pride, it also serves as a vehicle to give back.
“While I’m out there I collect food donations, people also donate through my GoFundMe as well,” Roy explained.
So far, nearly $2,000 has been raised which has gone to support the local food pantry and animal shelter as well as to provide meals for local first responders.
East Haven residents say that to them, Roy is a local hero.
“He took the edge off of everything that we’re going through,” said Christine Nordmann. “It was instantaneous.”
And Roy says that he has no plans of stopping any time soon.
“Just the feeling of me making people proud and letting them know they’re not alone,” he said. “That’s what it was all about.”
To contribute, visit the GoFundMe page here.