“We forget sometimes how many good people there are in the world and how many positive things actually happen on a day-to-day basis.” This wise reminder to remain grateful and optimistic, regardless of the challenges that lay ahead, is perhaps more timely and relevant now than ever before. US Army combat veteran and Record the Journey nonprofit founder Rachael Ridenour offers these words of wisdom at the conclusion of Mitsubishi Motors North America‘s (MMNA) latest digital video.
The film recounts Ridenour and US Air Force veteran Karah Behrend’s experiences during the 2019 Rebelle Rally, a gruelling eight-day, off-road navigational rally and the longest competition of its kind in the Lower 48 states.
Ridenour and Behrend piloted a minimally modified, hand control-equipped Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross to second place in the Crossover class, breaking barriers along the way. Behrend, who was forced to medically retire from the Air Force when she lost the use of her legs and parts of her hands to a progressive neurological disease, became the first adaptive athlete ever to compete in and complete the physically and mentally demanding 2,000-kilometer challenge. Their inspirational effort also earned them the Team Spirit award, as voted on by their fellow Rebelle competitors.
“Facing tough challenges together, staying optimistic and compassionate in the face of adversity, is heroic, and hearing of heroism tends to bring out the best in all of us,” said Kimberley Gardiner, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, MMNA.
“In keeping with our Small Batch philosophy, we’re evolving our engagement strategies and acknowledging what people are experiencing right now. Rachael and Karah’s story offers inspiration and connection at a time when we can all really use it.”
The partnership with Ridenour’s Record the Journey veterans charity late last year marked the start of MMNA’s new corporate social responsibility initiative, known as “Small Batch – Big Impact,” under which the company and its dealer partners plan to redefine the term “CUV” to mean “Community Utility Vehicle.”
The CUV programme is creating a series of vehicle loans to small nonprofits to help support local communities. Other CUV donations have been made to the Las Vegas-based Goodie Two Shoes Foundation and the Nashville-based Community Resource Center, with each of the charities using their Mitsubishi vehicles to further their respective missions.