Lance Cpl. Brad Riddick pulled into his parents' driveway at 4 a.m., home for the first time in months after U.S. Marine Corps training.

Lance Cpl. Brad Riddick pulled into his parents' driveway at 4 a.m., home for the first time in months after U.S. Marine Corps training.

"Where's my truck?" was the first thing out of his mouth, his mother, Ramona Riddick, said, laughing. The family told a small white lie: his grandfather was borrowing it.

Less than 24 hours later, Brad learned the truth

"Man, that's a nice truck," he said, sitting with family and friends at Cleco's Employee Park near Boyce. "I wonder whose it is."

As it neared, Brad, 18, stood for a closer look. After a few seconds, his jaw dropped. His hand brushed away uncontrollable tears.

"No way!" he shouted.

Brad's father, uncle, grandfather and a stranger had turned his 1995 GMC into a blue and black, decked-out "USMC" truck. On each side of the bed is the Marine Corps motto, "Semper Fi." His father carved "USMC" to replace the GMC logo on the grill.

"I wanted to do something special for him," Brad's dad, Tony Riddick, said. "So we decided to get together and do it. Over the years, you make lots of promises, and it isn't always easy to keep them. This is one I wanted to keep."

The work started in February, after Brad graduated from Marine Corps boot camp at Parris Island, S.C. During home leave Feb. 12-23, he joked that his family should have cleaned his truck, which he'd taken mudding before boot camp. After he left for combat training, the family decided to fix it up.

Tony Riddick said he started with some framework and other needed repairs. Things went into overdrive in May, when Brad's grandfather, Tommy Riddick, uncle Mike Riddick and Daniel Bosecker of Dry Prong joined in.

Bosecker, who works for a body shop and has his own home repair shop, had heard about the project from a friend and knew Tony Riddick.

"I really just wanted to help them out," Bosecker said June 16, the day Brad got his redone truck. "Seeing his reaction, that made it all worth it."

He added expertise the family lacked, said Tony and Ramona Riddick.

Brad walked around the truck several times, still shocked it was really his.

"I'm speechless," Brad said. "There is no way to explain what this means to me."

It started an eight-day leave during which Brad also was marrying his girlfriend of 2½ years, Taylor Welch, 18.

"There's been so much anticipation," she said. "I couldn't wait for him to get home. I couldn't wait for them to get the truck done. I can't wait for the weekend. They've been working so hard for so long!"

Ramona Riddick said she and her husband wanted to give the couple something they could use in Cherry Hill, N.C., where Brad was to be stationed.

"It is hard for us to let him go, but we thought this is one more thing we could do for them," she said.

Taylor said the truck has always meant a great deal to Brad.

"I will use it and be happy to ride around in it, but this is definitely more for him," she said, smiling. Brad was still looking at the truck as she said, "This is the best gift they could have ever given him."