Solidarity runs deep among America’s veterans. No matter their branch, their service creates a bond between those who have served. One program in Kentucky is giving vets another reason to get to know one another while learning some valuable skills. It’s called Operation Jeep Build and was started by Veteran’s Club Inc. out of Shelbyville, Kentucky.
Over the course of nine months, veterans come together to restore a Jeep. They do everything from the ground up. As a result, some don’t have all of the skills needed to complete the project. So, licensed technicians come in to train them on how to do a litany of things. By the end of the program, all of the veterans will learn new skills. More importantly, they get time to bond with their fellow vets.
The veterans taking part in the project don’t just restore an old Jeep for show. Instead, the new vehicle becomes part of Veterans Club Inc.’s fleet of off-road vehicles. Those who take part in the program get to use those jeeps to get out and sling some mud, according to WDRB.
Jeremy Harrell is the founder and CEO of Veteran’s Club Inc. as well as an Iraq War veteran. He told the local news outlet, “A group of about 50 veterans consistently worked together,” to restore the Jeep. He added, “You’re looking at well over 200 hours of just putting it together. A lot of hard work goes into it.”
Harrell noted that veterans took the current Jeep from bare-bones to something really special and even did the paint job. “They learned how to paint,” he said with no small measure of pride while gesturing to the Jeep, “they painted this.”
More About the Program that Allows Veterans to Restore a Jeep
Veteran’s Club Inc. partnered with Art Geahr to bring the project to life. Geahr owns the mechanic shop in which the veterans restored the Jeep during the project. He is also an Army and Marine Corps veteran, according to an earlier WDRB report.
Geahr said that the program is like a metaphor for veterans. “A lot of veterans, we do our time in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, we come out and we kind of have to rebuild our lives as civilians.”
To Jeremy Harrell, the veterans in the program don’t just restore a Jeep. They build connections and learn skills. He said, “It’s therapeutic because they have the opportunity to work with their hands. They have the opportunity to connect again, and they also have the opportunity to learn a skill.”
Veteran’s Club Inc. will get two more Jeeps this year to keep their program rolling. Check out their website to see the other programs they offer as well as how you can donate to their cause.