Man driving firetruck cross-country in the name of 'buying American' stops on Hilton Head

bheffernan@islandpacket.comJanuary 30, 2013 

Friends Tim Morris, left, and Aaron Lorell pose next to their American-made 1971 Mack fire truck in the Hilton Head Island Walmart parking lot on Wednesday. The two are on a cross-country journey hoping to convince big-box retailers to devote more shelf space to American-made goods.


Aaron Lorell is traveling the country in pursuit of an American dream of sorts.

And at each stop, he’s taking up two parking spaces.

Or a fire lane.

After Lorell lost his job two months ago in California, he flew to New Jersey, bought a firetruck and started a cross-country journey with a friend. Their goal is to make American-made products easier to buy.

To accomplish that, Lorell is asking big-box retailers like Walmart to create aisles that carry only American-made goods, similar to the way grocers have organic-specific aisles.

He calls them "patriot zones." "Everybody really wants to support their country... but when it's going to change your shopping time from a half hour to three hours to try to read the fine print [on labels], time just necessitates that people skip it," Lorell said.

Lorell has stopped the red firetruck on Hilton Head Island for a few days to spread his idea.

For more on Lorell’s story and the reception he is receiving in the Lowcountry, check back later today at or

Related content: 'Made in America Fire Truck Tour' makes stop in Winston-Salem, Jan. 23, 2013

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