Marine & RVs

An RV Dealer Thinks That RVs Can ‘Heal the Nation’

It’s been a trying year for everyone. The Coronavirus hit hard in the early months. Then came the nationwide movement of protests, hot spots of civil unrest, and a political storm. California’s wildfires continue to burn, and southern states braced for hurricane season. With so much turmoil in so many parts of the country, it’s hard to imagine any one thing that could potentially heal the nation. But one man believes there is, and it’s the RV industry. An RV dealer took his sentiments to a Congress and suggested there is a magic wand that could bring Americans back together again.

One RV dealer takes his message to Congress

two motorhomes parked on small road beside coast of the sea
Motorhomes parked along the coast at sunset with view over the sea. | Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

In the heart of the Midwest in Hiawatha, Iowa is a recreational vehicle dealer called Ketelsen RV. Owner Jeremy Ketelsen was invited to speak during a Congressional hearing by U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer of Iowa. Ketelsen, who is also a member of the National RV Dealers Association, spoke to members of Congress about the setbacks and supply chain issues that have impacted the RV industry. Coronavirus stalled many sectors during the shutdowns. But as Americans flocked to buying RVs as a way to vacation safely, there quickly became a shortage of supplies and inventory that continues to be a challenge for those in the RV business.

The RV industry responded during the crisis

During the fiercest few months of the COVID-19 outbreaks, many industry segments stepped up to help with relief efforts. Jeremy Ketelsen reminded Congress during his testimony that the RV industry did its part, too. Many dealers responded by donating and supplying RVs for use by local emergency personnel, area hospitals as makeshift mobile medic units, and to first-responder families to help with quarantine efforts. He pointed out that many dealers did this during a time their own businesses experienced tremendous revenue loss.

It wasn’t just local RV dealers doing their part, either. The RV Industry Association, with its members, submitted a letter of intent offering assistance to Vice President Mike Pence and the Coronavirus Task Force. The industry as a whole committed to donating RVs to critical health care settings around the country. They would be used as portable offices, mobile command centers, and temporary housing solutions. 

The Great American Outdoors Act

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As part of his statement, Jeremy Ketelsen also expressed gratitude to lawmakers for the recent passing of the Great American Outdoors Act. This act allows the national parks, as well as other federally managed lands under the Public Land Agency, to repair and make upgrades to their facilities. Any improvements designed to protect resources and enable better access for all site-seers are granted as a part of this bill.

Can the RV Industry really heal the nation?

The RV industry pitched in during those first few intense months of the nationwide shutdown. But can the industry actually bring people together and heal a nation right now? Jeremy Ketelsen told lawmakers he thought it could. And it’s not just about donating RVs to those who need them. It’s the great outdoors that can offer a renewed sense of connection. The best way to get out there and social distance is by way of RV and the open highway. Ketelsen insists there are a host of benefits RV ownership and travel can have on Americans. He cited an increase in first-time buyers through his dealership. Families are getting out of their “quarantine fatigue” and reconnecting with loved ones. 

RVs and campers maybe can’t solve all the nation’s problems and challenges right now. But it’s clear, loading up the RV for a road trip certainly does have its healing properties. And it’s just another way the industry continues to help people through these trying times.

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