Wheelers for the Wounded Revs up National Tour

Date 2009/1/6 8:08:00 | Topic: Miscellaneous

Wheelers for the Wounded, an organization inspired by a single Marine wounded in Iraq in 2007, will begin a unique outreach program to thank wounded American service men and women by sharing weekends of four-wheeling and camping hosted by off-roading clubs in almost half of the states in the US. The organization is also raffling off a Jeep and custom-built trailer that will visit all of the events from April through September.

WFTW founder Jason Havlik says the group's primary mission "is to take wounded service members off-roading and camping for a weekend all across the country as a way of honoring them and saying 'Thank you' for their sacrifices."  The organization also hopes to inspire people to get involved in other ways to support service members, and will raise money through the vehicle raffle for the Fisher House organization, a charity that helps military members and their families.

The organizers encourage all who've been wounded in any war, or medically discharged from the service, to attend an event and drive or ride.  "They don't need their own 4x4," says Havlik, "I will let them drive mine if they like!" Other off-roaders have offered the same, or are glad to provide a passenger seat. He continued, "Regardless of the seat they decide to sit in, it's going to be a weekend of fun times, good food, and great people."

Wheelers for the Wounded came about as off-road enthusiasts learned of Havlik's plan to provide a weekend of outdoor fun and four-wheeling to a Marine who lost both of his legs while serving in Iraq.  "I wanted to spend a little time with him to show him that despite his injuries, there are still activities in which he can participate," Havlik said. Others in the off-road community decided to join them, and eventually suggested they do the same thing for other wounded service members around the country.

Schedules, contacts, and information for dozens of events, as well as raffle tickets are available through event host-clubs or through the organization's website at wheelersforthewounded.org.  If you'd like to participate in one or more of the programs, email Havlik at jason@wheelersforthewounded.org.  Participating clubs are focused on specific 4X4 makes, such as Jeeps, but the WFTW events are open to everyone with any off-road vehicles. "This is about the off-road community coming together as one to show our support and appreciation for a special group of individuals," Havlik concluded.  

The WFTW Jeep and custom built trailer, together valued at approximately $75,000 will visit every site and will be raffled off at the Final Wheelers for the Wounded event in Georgia the last weekend of September. According to Havlik, "The WFTW Jeep and trailer are a very capable off-road and expedition combination, from the Dana 60 axles and 40" BFGoodrich tires to the roof top tent with air conditioning and a refrigerator, it's a vehicle that can get four people to a remote location and allow them to live in comfort while they are there.  

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