Local and national news outlets have been charmed by Sherman Bynum, the Camas high school junior who arrived in a World War II light armored vehicle—in other words, a tank—to his junior prom which was hosted by the Portland Art Museum in Oregon.
Procuring a tank isn’t as easy as renting a limo. However, according to Bynum, a years-long tank enthusiast, it was easier than one might think. It started with a GoFundMe page.
“I have had the goal to ride a tank for years now, and with the opportunity of prom around the corner, it is only natural that the two mix,” Bynum said in this description on his GoFundMe page. The cost for “shipping” and the night’s rental—a meager $1000.
The campaign raised a total of $1675.
According to KOIN 6 News, a Portland-based CBS affiliate station, which first reported the story, Bynum’s idea to rent a tank came after he found out his school would set up a special parking lot for the students pulling up to the museum. All Bynum and his best friend, Sam Tetro, had to do was find a tank.
Bynum called a group in Minnesota that rents battle tanks “for films and stuff,” but the price was steep: $20,000. He also called a museum in Oregon, but they didn’t have something he could use. Someone at the museum did, however, connect Bynum to Steven Greenburg, a collector of military gear who was exactly the kind of man Bynum needed.
“[I called] the guy and within about 15 minutes we had a deal worked out,” he told KOIN.
Originally, the tank expedition was to be manned by only Bynum and Tetro, according to Oregon’s KPTV. They didn’t have dates. That is until Bynum asked a girl named Mycah Chala to join their tank ride to the museum with a sign that read “I’d be tankfull if you went to prom with me!”
There was more to the tank than just wanting to make a prom entrance worthy of General Patton. According to Insider, Bynum’s father was a “history buff who loved tanks.” He also suffered from Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia. He told his father in February about his idea. “He just thought it was the funniest thing he’d ever heard,” Bynum told Insider. A few days later, his father passed away.
“I knew that if I did this, whether he was right there in front of me or holding my hand from somewhere else, I knew that I would be honoring that spirit of adventure and doing good things,” Bynum said to Insider, adding that perhaps next year he would skydive into prom.