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They Customize Vehicles For Wounded Veterans
When servicemen and women leave for deployment, they often leave a prized vehicle behind - a motorcycle, their first car, an ATV, and so on. If they return home catastrophically wounded as an amputee, they may no longer be able to operate those machines. A group of volunteer veterans in California are changing that one project at a time by retrofitting vehicles that are “adapted to the injury, customized to the soul.” In addition, they offer wounded vets therapy trips driving recreational vehicles.
  Retired Marine Rob Blanton started Warfighter Made, a nonprofit organization, in 2012 after deciding most therapies offered through the military were “one size fits all.” The 21-year Marine served four combat tours and received the Silver Star for extraordinary heroism in Iraq. He also received a diagnosis for traumatic brain injury and severe post-traumatic stress disorder. After a brush with suicide, he vowed to turn his negatives into positives through Warfighter Made.
  With other income to support himself and his wife, who is also a retired Marine, Blanton takes no pay for his full-time volunteer work. Nor do the other veterans who find that working on vehicles as therapeutic to them as the recreational therapy is for veterans who receive vehicles.
  “It’s another avenue for veterans to get relief from their stressors. A vehicle is an extension of you as a person. It’s more personal to take a vehicle a wounded warfighter already owns and adopt it for them,” Blanton says.
  The first project has been the most ambitious - transforming a Harley Night Train motorcycle so it could be ridden by a triple amputee. Volunteers added a sidecar, transferred the throttle and brake to the left, installed an automatic clutch, and exchanged the foot shifter for a hand shifter so the veteran, who only has his ring and pinkie finger, could enjoy riding again. 
  For people who want to support Warfighter Made, Blanton suggests they check out the photos and stories on their Instagram and Facebook first. Then they can contact or donate at the organization’s website.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Warfighter Made, 42225 Remington Ave. A14, Temecula, Calif. 92590 (ph 951 852-2293; www.warfightermade.org; robert@warfightermade.org).

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2018 - Volume #42, Issue #4