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Kankakee Daily Journal

Updated: Aug 17, 2021

Dylan Mercier was not unlike any number of boys growing up. He loved playing with toy cars and trucks. The St. Anne man, who recently had his Mack semi-tractor and trailer wrapped to pay tribute to firefighters, is now stepping into a world he never could have imagined. Mercier, who will soon turn the age of 20, was contacted by die cast toy manufacturer First Gear, Inc. The Peosta, Iowa-based company is an officially licensed custom die cast manufacturer of metal replica cars, trucks and construction equipment. It will be transforming his unique ride into a collectible die cast model. The die cast will be on a 1/64 scale of his truck, meaning is will be only several inches in length. If all goes as planned, the first production of the truck will be completed by late February to early March. And that’s not all. Mercier is not just taking all the cash — one of the die cast trucks would likely sell in the $100 range — and putting it into his pocket. Mercier, a volunteer member of the St. Anne Fire Protection District since joining the force through its cadet program when he was 14, is working with the Eric Marsh Foundation for Wildland Firefighters which is where he intends a portion of sale proceeds will go. The foundation was established shortly after the Granite Mountain Hotshot fire rescue team of Prescott, Ariz., perished in June 2013 fighting a forest fire. Marsh was superintendent of the 20-member crew of which 19 members died while fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire. Mercier’s truck gained notoriety following the Daily Journal story regarding the unique truck wrap Fastlane Wraps of Chebanse had made and installed on Mercier’s vehicle a few months ago. St. Anne man is paying tribute to firefighters with specially wrapped truck Dylan Mercier honors firefighters by having his 18-wheeler, a 2005 Mack truck and trailer, decked out in a fire-themed wrap. “It’s really exciting,” said Mercier, a 2019 graduate of St. Anne Community High School. “I actually wanted to be a member of the Hot Shots if I hadn’t decided to work with my dad. But selling toy trucks is huge to me. I could have never imagined this.” A collector of die cast trucks since he was about 12, Mercier said his own truck will obviously rank at the top of his collection. “I’ve been playing with toy trucks since I was born,” he said. Mercier said none of this would have happened if not for the Jan. 20 front-page story in The Daily Journal about his truck and its eye-catching wrap. The story reached more than 105,000 people in the days that followed its publication online.

The Daily Journal’s Lee Provost writes about local business rumors, comings and goings and other notes of interest. Anyone with information to share should contact Provost at or 815-937-3364.

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