There was rain, not snow, in the clouds last week when Ram, the Chrysler Foundation and the Chrysler Group LLC’s Southwest Business Center in Dallas joined forces with the Air Warrior Courage Foundation to provide a much-needed 2014 Ram ProMaster 2500 cargo van and a $25,000 grant for the Warrior and Family Support Center at the San Antonio Military Medical Center (formerly Brooke Army Medical Center.
Chrysler also provided snow — about 10,000 pounds worth — so that children could enjoy a traditional holiday. For some, the snow reminded them of the winters that they spend up north. For others, it was the first that they had ever seen. For all, it was a holiday adventure, accompanied by pink cheeks, snowballs and attempts to build snowmen.
The vehicle and cash donation were facilitated through the Air Warrior Courage Foundation (a 501-C3) and members of the Lake Travis Christmas Hope charity, a part of the Foundation. Air Warrior Courage is rated #1 for charities under $2-million by Charity Navigator. It provides financial assistance for medical, educational and other extraordinary expenses not covered by other military, veterans’ or charitable institutions. These can range from a bedroom set for newlyweds to dental care for children and everything in between. Lake Travis Christmas Hope provides checks directly through the larger organization so families can have a Christmas when one might otherwise be impossible to afford.
When families are notified that their injured warrior is headed to San Antonio for what-could-be several years of treatment, they generally bring very little with them. Spouses give up jobs that can be the difference between making it and not. Children are taken out of schools and transferred to a strange city that will be their home for the foreseeable future. The destabilization that goes along with this process is tough for the most well-adjusted family dealing with a disabled family member. The Warrior and Family Support Center helps fill the gap by easing some of their difficulties in coordination with the staff at the Medical Center.
The Truck and Why
The ProMaster, which is new to the US but has a solid reputation in Europe, was perfect for the needs of the center, which is a no-salute zone that provides a unique environment for wounded warriors and their families to play video games, watch TV and enjoy other activities with other military members or extended families. It is the source for disposable diapers, water and other beverages, casual meals and much more. Space constraints require that these things generally be stored off base and brought to the center on pallets or loose. The vehicles that they have used were hand-me-downs that had questionable fuel efficiency, required frequent maintenance and necessitated as many as 4 – 6 runs a day to keep the center stocked. The new Ram cargo van can carry in one load the equivalent of at least four, making it an economical and functional choice. The wide rear and side cargo doors allow a full pallet to be loaded on or off with ease.
To keep things humming right along, the Ancira Group in San Antonio also gifted the Warrior and Family Support Center with a no-deductible 5-year, 100,000 mile warranty for the vehicle.
Making a list and checking it twice
The ProMaster was delivered at the annual holiday party for the Support Center. Decked out with graphics that identify it with a streaming flag and the Center’s logo, it was filled with supplies, ride-on vehicles for the children’s playground and much more, including gift bags containing a stuffed Ram toy and a gift certificate for each child.
Said Reid Bigland, President and CEO, Ram Truck Brand, “In recognition of their distinguished service and personal sacrifices, we’ve customized the exterior of this ProMaster van with an inspired vehicle wrap that is sure to get noticed.”
Jody Trapasso, Senior Vice President — External Affairs, Chrysler Group LLC and President of the Chrysler Foundation, agreed. “At Chrysler Group, we strive to make serviing others part of our everyday mission. The Air Warrior Courage Foundation makes a difference every day in the lives of returning heroes and these families. The Chrysler Foundation is proud to support these efforts.”