By Pete Tattersall
In December 2002, CNN purchased a Hummer from a used-car dealer in Kuwait City.
The vehicle, dubbed "Warrior One," was used to transport a CNN team, including then-CNN and current-NBC correspondent Martin Savidge, embedded with the First Battalion, 7th Marines. In April 2003, the Marine unit and the CNN team came under heavy fire near Baghdad University, a firefight broadcast live on CNN.
Flash forward to Aug. 30, 2006. The Hummer is transported to Irvine, Calif., where the TLC television program "Overhaulin' is based. In seven days, the Hummer is converted into, well, something a bit different.
Crews overhauled the Hummer's engine and body and installed a high-tech sound system, complete with a DVD player and multiple screens.
"When they first put the stereo in, it blew out all the windows," said Jennifer L. Martin, a CNN spokeswoman.
Airbrush artists painted images of journalists and military men and women on the vehicle, a tribute to those who served during the war in Iraq or who covered the war. The diesel engine was converted to gasoline, added Martin.
On Thursday, "Warrior One" was on display at Keesler.
On Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. the Hummer will roll with the Veterans Day Parade in Biloxi. From 1 to 3 p.m. it will be on display at the Mental Health Association of Mississippi's 6th annual Chili Cook-Off on the Biloxi Town Green.
Meanwhile, the episode of TLC's "Overhaulin'" featuring the Hummer's conversion will be broadcast at 9 p.m. Tuesday. And on Jan 20, the Hummer will be auctioned off by Barrett-Jackson Auction Co. in Scottsdale, Ariz.
"We'll be donating all the proceeds to the Fisher House Foundation," said Martin.
The Fisher House Foundation provides a home-away-from-home for families of patients receiving major medical care at major military and VA medical centers. With 36 houses in 16 states, including one at Keesler, the Fisher House Foundation has offered more than 2 million days of lodging to more than 100,000 families since 1990. The program serves more than 8,500 families each year.
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- Kamryn Jaroszewski