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Interesting Info About All Things Land Rover

Defender Above and Beyond Service Awards Winners Announced

  • Greg Fitzgerald
  • Oct 8, 2021
Defender Above and Beyond Service Awards

The winners of the first-ever Defender Above and Beyond Service Awards have been announced, with seven non-profits each taking home a brand-new Defender 110 custom-equipped to help them achieve their organizations’ goals.

Vehicles were awarded in each of seven categories: Search and Rescue, Coastal and Marine Conservation, Animal Welfare, First Responders, Environmental, Urban Improvement, and Fire Safety and Response. Nominations were taken in the spring, followed by an online poll in the late summer to determine the finalists.

The contest had over 300 nominations, and over 165,000 votes from the general public. The seven winners are:

Search and Rescue: Wolfe County Search and Rescue, Campton, Kentucky
Wolfe County is in eastern Kentucky, where the Appalachian Mountains form into rugged and complex gorges. Their primary focus area is the Red River Gorge, a system of sandstone canyons that form some of the world’s best rock climbing. Climbers come from all over to climb “the Red,” but some get lost or injured – which is where Wolfe County SAR will use their new Defender as a base to get to these remote areas and rescue hikers and climbers. The area is economically challenged, and the SAR group is entirely dependent on donations and grants -- there's no budget from the communities they serve and no charge to the rescued. They are currently using a clapped-out early 2000s Jeep Grand Cherokee with rust holes in the hood for their rescue missions. A new Defender will be a massive upgrade, both in capability and reliability.

For more information on Wolfe County Search and Rescue
To donate to Wolfe County Search and Rescue

Coastal and Marine Conservation: New York Marine Rescue Center, Riverhead, New York

New York Marine Rescue is located in Riverhead, NY, on the coast of Long Island Sound. The organization rescues 600 marine animals a year. They rescue stranded seals, sea turtles, dolphins, and small tooth whales. They are the only rehab facility for these animals in the state of New York. The Defender will help New York Marine Rescue by providing a reliable and all-season vehicle for rescues, as well as a education and research platform. In the winter, stranded sea turtles can suffer life threatening “cold stun,” and volunteers need to return them to the sea as fast as possible. The Defender will add a vehicle to the fleet – in rough times, many animals can be stranded at once. The Defender can also be a flagship token vehicle for the organization at fairs, community events, and schools.

For more info on New York Marine Rescue
Donate to New York Marine Rescue


Animal Welfare: Humane Society of Independence County, Batesville, Arkansas

The Humane Society of Independence County takes care of neglected animals in this rugged county in the northeast of Arkansas, about 100 miles from Little Rock. In 2019, they took in 700 cats and dogs, many the victims of cruelty or abandoned on the county’s many dirt backroads. The Humane Society constantly gets calls about animals in need, and often they are in remote areas. The terrain is rocky and hilly, and the county is bisected by the White River and covered in its tributaries. Many roads can be covered by flooded creeks. Right now, the organization relies on an early 2000s Chevy Tahoe, and sometimes it hits its limits of capability and they have to park and walk to the rescue. The Defender will allow them to ford these creeks and get closer to animals faster (the Defender does have three feet of wading capability after all), and will be much more reliable than the old worn Tahoe.

For more information on Humane Society of Independence County
Donate to Humane Society of Independence County

First Responders: Montgomery EMS, Belle Mead, New Jersey

The Montgomery EMS operates in Montgomery Township, NJ, in southern Somerset County. An all-volunteer tax-exempt organization, they provide EMS services to the 23,000 residents of Montgomery. They respond to 1,400 9-1-1 calls a year, provide backup to community and sports events. They have four ambulances and two first responder vehicles that are used on these calls. The first responder vehicles are the first on the scene at a 9-1-1 call, and they have a large maintenance deficit due to budget costs during the pandemic. The Township is also growing, leading to a higher burden. In addition, Montgomery is in the floodplain of the Millstone and Raritan Rivers, and storms like the recent Hurricane Ida can flood roads quickly. The ability for the Defender to ford these waters will help them make more calls safely when there are crises in Montgomery and surrounding towns.

For more information on Montgomery EMS
Donate to Montgomery EMS

Fire Safety and Response: Navarre Beach Fire Rescue, Navarre Beach, Florida

Navarre Beach is a barrier island in the Florida Panhandle, between Destin and Pensacola. This location brings the fire department some unique challenges. They serve as fire department for local residents and visitors; part of the fire department network for the various military installations near Pensacola; the local lifeguard service; and a search and rescue service on the water. They work in both the Gulf of Mexico and Santa Rosa Sound, two waterways with different demands. The Defender will also be of use on the long sandy beaches where it can haul equipment quickly to ocean calls.

More information on Navarre Beach Fire Rescue

Urban Improvement: Hamptons Community Outreach, Bridgehampton, New York

The Hamptons bring up images of the rich and famous living their best summer life. But there is another side to the Hamptons -- one of staggering poverty, exacerbated by the area's service economy and extremely high cost of living. Hamptons Community Outreach works to bridge between the rich and poor in the area, helping to renovate damaged and deficient homes so that people can live a dignified life. They also work in particular to renovate homes of those whose families have been split up due to poor housing. The new Defender 110 will help them on their projects, and the roof rack will help them carry building materials. Currently, much of this is done in volunteers' personal vehicles. In a place where Land Rovers of all ages and types blanket the streets, this Defender will be doing a particular bit of good.

More information on Hamptons Community Outreach
Donate to Hamptons Community Outreach

Environmental: One Tree Planted, Shelbourne, Vermont

One Tree Planted is on a mission to plant trees, give back to the environment, create a healthier climate, protect biodiversity and help reforestation efforts around the world. Trees are vital to the climate in so many ways, and One Tree Planted has doubled how many they've planted year over year since they began in 2014 -- in 2021, they will plant over 30,000,000 trees. They work in 43 countries and help reforest after fires and floods. The Defender will be used on replanting efforts, and its four-wheel-drive capabilities will be helpful as they go to remote areas to plant.

More Information on One Tree Planted
Donate to One Tree Planted

You can also see the videos for the finalists who didn't win Defenders here.
Watch the announcement livestream here.

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  • Written By
  • Greg Fitzgerald
  • Adventure addict. '90s Land Rover daily driver. Historic preservationist. Personal vehicles: 1994 Discovery I, 1994 Range Rover Classic, 1961 Series II 109", 2005 LR3.
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