We have all spent countless hours and nights working on a project in the garage making sure our pride and joy is ready to take out on the next trail ride, desert trip, or meet up, but there are others that spend time protecting our freedom. Warfighter Made is a veteran based non-profit that adapts and customizes combat wounded veteran’s vehicles, and provides recreational therapy during their off-road events.
Located in Temecula, California this group of individuals led by Robert Blanton, a USMC combat veteran, helping wounded veterans with both visible and invisible injuries. If you recall we worked with Warfighter Made while they were fixing Jesse Williamson’s 2010 Chevy Silverado. Warfighter Made helps out in three main ways:
- They adapt and customize a combat wounded veteran’s vehicle, so they can continue doing the things they enjoy, while their vehicle reflects their individual personality.
- They invite ill, injured, and combat wounded veterans to participate in their recreational therapy trips. These adventures include shooting at ranges, participating in Lucas Oil Off-Road events, and outdoor adventures with their Polaris RZRs.
- They work with other like-minded non-profits, businesses, and individuals to ensure the veteran gets the best experience possible.
“Our continuous goal is to give veterans opportunities in different forms of none clinical therapy, like off-roading, but also provide veterans a place where they can come and enjoy the camaraderie many veterans miss when the separate from the military all while helping with a project that will change another veteran’s life,” Blanton said. “I’d like to see a Warfighter Made facility outside of every major military base, that assists veterans in getting into trade schools that teaches automotive based skills, then hire those vets to work at Warfighter Made facilities.”
“This gives them work experience, but also teaching them business skills to give them a better chance of being successful should they want to open their own shop,” Blanton continued. “These Warfighter Made facilities could build vehicles for catastrophically wounded veterans, and help local veterans with small projects, free of labor costs. I think it would be a win/win for veterans and the automotive community as a whole.”
Plastered on the walls around the shop are pictures of the Warfighter Made team out at events and the vehicles that they have been a part of. “We’ve built a 2012 Jeep JKU for injured Marine (Triple Amputee) Nick, a 2012 Challenger for double leg amputee Gabe, two Silverado’s for combat wounded amputees, a Harley with a sidecar for triple amputee Brian, and a CanAm Spyder for double leg amputee Davey L,” Blanton explained. “I really don’t have a favorite, I just love helping these veterans out and making them feel appreciated for what they’ve done for us.”
Warfighter Made was founded in 2012 and has been on the gas ever since. “2016 was our breakout year,” Blanton said. “We completed three full on adapted and customized builds for our nation’s catastrophically injured warfighters, and we continued our therapy trips with Polaris RZRs, to places like Utah, Glamis, and New Hampshire.”
The team at Warfighter Made are big into all things automotive they seem to have found their groove in the dirt. “We do a lot of things in all genres of motorsports, it just so happens that being based out of Southern California, a mecca for off-roading, we get a lot of support from the off-road industry,” Blanton said. “We enjoy off-roading as there seems to be less rules and more fun for the vets.”
The fun is not over for the year as they still have some projects coming down the pipeline. “We are finishing up our the Supercross Toyota build as a priority, as well as our vintage military vehicle we’re racing in the Mexican 1000 with an all combat veteran race team,” said Blanton. “We’re also building a custom Harley for a combat wounded double leg amputee and a 67 Camaro for a combat wounded single leg amputee.”
“Warfighter Made relies on donations to continue providing our therapy to veterans, at no cost to the injured warfighter,” Blanton finished. “Warfighter Made is 100-percent nonprofit and all of its officers are volunteers. Any money we pay in services, directly supports an injured warfighter. Our overhead expenses (rent/utilities) are covered with support from Polaris RZR, so when you donate to Warfighter Made, it goes directly to supporting our veterans.”