NIXA, Mo. – A nonprofit here is giving back to heroes in the community by giving them Jeeps during surprise ceremonies.
A year ago Rick Carter and his friends Dean Wake and Brett Adams established Jeeps for Heroes, a nonprofit dedicated to giving back to deserving veterans and local heroes.
Carter, the group’s president and founder, started by contacting nearby Jeep enthusiasts and experts. He says the Jeep community has risen to the occasion, and his group has received substantial support from other organizations, accounting for 90% of the gifts.
Carter meets with the families and peers of selected Jeep recipients, then organizers fill the vehicle with outdoor items the recipient will enjoy.
Carter told The Heartlander his research suggests outdoor activities can aid in the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder healing process.
Along with their gifts, recipients are treated to an appreciation ceremony.
Carter is unaware of any other organizations that donate off-road vehicles and outdoor equipment to heroes; Jeeps for Heroes has given away two vehicles in just over a year. The group aims to give one off-road vehicle per month in the future.
JFH recently gave Springfield police officer Josiah Overton. Overton and fellow officer Christopher Walsh were both shot in 2020 while responding to shots fired at an area Kum & Go.
Walsh, 32, passed away and Overton had life-threatening wounds. The incident occurred at the peak of the pandemic. Carter says Overton’s wife applied for his Jeep surprise, having felt her husband’s recognition was swept under the rug because of COVID-19.
Carter says his nonprofit is inundated with applications, and the most challenging aspect is picking the appropriate person for a gifting ceremony.
“I wish we could give something away to all of them. It is very difficult. I have to get online and do some research to make sure what they are telling is the truth. It’s very difficult to pick. There are so many in need. There can never be enough organizations or nonprofit services for our veterans and first responders. We owe them everything, and it’s never enough.”
JFH has a presence on Facebook and a website where others can donate, partner with the organization and apply for a Jeep. JFH will be in attendance at the next Crawl the Ozarks event at Southern Missouri Off Road Ranch to raise funds.