Over the past 70 years, Land Rover has dedicated itself to helping humanitarian efforts worldwide. With the launch of the Land Rover Defender Above & Beyond Service Awards, its legacy of empowering charitable organizations working tirelessly to make an impact in their local communities is being continued.
The Defender Above & Beyond Service Awards provides the tools for humanitarian agencies
On March 9, 2021, Land Rover launched the Defender Above & Beyond Service Awards to celebrate charitable organizations that are committed to serving their community by making positive impacts.
Each of the seven winners was recently awarded a specially outfitted Land Rover Defender 110 to empower them to further their charity efforts involving search and rescue efforts, environmental impacts, fire services, marine conservation, and more.
Each customized Land Rover Defender model represents the unique history of Land Rover’s unmatched effort to earn a place in the hearts of humanitarian agencies spanning the globe. It pays homage to the Defender’s legacy and allows it to maintain its reputation as a vehicle purposely designed for service.
How do you win a Defender Above & Beyond Service award?
To win a Defender Above & Beyond Service award, organizations must be a United States-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity whose efforts land within the seven categories below:
- Search and Rescue
- Coastal and Marine Conservation
- Animal Welfare
- First Responders
- Urban Improvement
- Fire Service
Each organization submitted a video nomination for Land Rover. They explained how their group makes a difference and why a Defender could help them traverse muddy trails in the woods, rescue people on the beach, rescue stranded animals, deliver food and building materials to those in need, and access remote wilderness areas to help the environment.
With over 330 video submissions, voting on the winners became increasingly difficult. So, Land Rover decided to enlist the public’s help. People voted online for the charity groups that could make the most significant difference with a custom Land Rover Defender 110.
*Note: All images and videos were taken while the vehicle was safely in park
But Land Rover didn’t stop after donating the vehicles
Each of the Defender Above & Beyond Service Award winners was invited to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, to meet their custom rides for the first time. Each Land Rover Defender 110 model is outfitted with unique service equipment for the charity group’s purpose.
For example, the humane society’s rig has crates and innovative storage solutions for stray cats and dogs. The fire services group has a compressor, and the marine conversation rig has a snorkel for going through swampy environments.
Then each group was taken on the Biltmore Land Rover experience to learn how to use their new rig to its fullest capacity. It snowed three inches, but that didn’t stop the Land Rover Defender 110 models from mastering off-roading courses. It just made things very slippery.
The adventure started in the morning when it was a brisk 17 degrees out, and everyone was first introduced to their brand new Land Rover Defender 110 models. People cried, people hugged their SUVs, and some climbed through them like spider monkies. Then it was off to the warm-up course.
To gauge everyone’s off-roading skill sets, we were walked through how to adjust the vehicle’s settings for off-roading over ruts, logs, rocks, and steep snow-covered surfaces. The controls have an intuitive layout, making it easy to remember how to change the off-roading terrain modes raise the suspension when it’s best to switch to 4×4 low.
Off-roading tips I gained through the warm-up include:
- Keep your thumbs on top of the steering wheel, don’t get them caught in the spokes while turning.
- Keep your hands at 10 and 2 and shuffle the steering wheel back and forth instead of making tight turns. You don’t want your arms to cross.
- Trust in hill descent control to slowly traverse steep declines. Don’t hit the brakes and lock up the wheels.
- Keep your wheels straight through the obstacles to slide in the right direction.
- Provide smooth and steady accleration over and through obsticles.
Then we went to a garage to learn about how to maintain the Land Rover Defender 110 yourself. This way, each group gained insightful tips on properly taking care of their new ride in the event of an emergency or breakdown.
The Defender maintenance tips I learned consist of:
- The spare tire on the back weighs 150 lbs, so don’t try to move it yourself.
- Folding up the jack and other tire-changing tools can be tricky for proper storage.
- The owner’s manual says to take the Defender 110 in for service to change the battery, but the battery is actually located under the passenger seat and is easy to replace.
- There are three fuse boxes, one near the engine, one in the glove box, and one in the back.
- I learned where all the essential fluids are and the oil filter.
- I learned where the tow hook is and how to connect it. It’s reverse threaded to prevent becoming unscrewed while towing another vehicle.
- Also, you want to tow vehicles out with a straight line. Try not to surpass a 60 or 40 degree angle.
After that, the afternoon was pretty wild as we took to more off-roading courses. This is when we really played in the mud. We were even asked to help break up ice over massive orange mud puddles.
Each Land Rover Defender 110 proved its capabilities while driving over deep ruts in the mud, down snow-covered hills in the woods, climbing over rocks, moving forward with tires in the air, and more.
Some groups went to winch training to learn how to pull their own rigs and others out of the ditch. It was an action-packed and knowledge-filled day. The biggest tips I’m walking away with are brake less and engage in light steering.
Now to meet the Land Rover Defender Service winners
The Defender Above & Beyond Service Award winners:
1. Search and Rescue
Wolfe County Search and Rescue (Campton, KY)
Recognized for its work in wilderness and technical rope rescue to specialize in reducing lost and stranded person incidents. The all-volunteer team is funded via grants and donations for high-angles roped rescue in challenging Eastern Kentucky terrain.
2. Coastal and Marine Conservation
New York Marine Center (Riverhead, NY)
Recognized for its dedicated work to preserve and protect the marine environment through conservation efforts, including rescue, rehabilitation, education, and research. If you’re a stranded turtle, call these folks.
3. Animal Welfare
Humane Society of Independence County (Batesville, AR)
Recognized for valiant efforts to rescue and provide safe shelter for abandoned, homeless, abused, and unwanted cats and dogs within the county and securing safe, loving, and stable homes for them.
4. First Responders
Montgomery Emergency Medical Services (Belle Mead, NJ)
Recognized for its work providing critical emergency care to the 23,000 residents of Montgomery township, NJ, and standbys at fire scenes, sporting events, and other community activities.
One Tree Planted (Shelburne, VT)
Recognized for its work toward protecting the health of local lakes, rivers, and streams for all those who depend on and enjoy them. They also plant trees all over the world.
6. Urban Improvement
Hamptons Community Outreach (New York, NY)
Recognized for its work to bridge the gap between the affluent and impoverished communities in its local areas via food delivery, home renovations, and local art and education programs.
7. Fire Safety and Response
Navarre Beach Fire and Rescue Inc (Navarre, FL)
Recognized for its work providing emergency response to all emergencies on Navarre Beach and automatic aid to all departments in Santa Rosa County, with the military.
“Since launching our first ever Defender Above & Beyond Service Awards earlier this year, we’ve had over 400 submissions and over 165,000 votes. We’re thrilled to have crowned seven winners,” said Joe Eberhardt, President & CEO, Jaguar Land Rover North America.”
He continued to share, “Each of our finalists across seven categories serves as true examples of how sacrifice and drive toward a greater good can make enormous impacts in the communities around them and all of us at Land Rover, from our employees to our retailers, are inspired and humbled by them.”
If your organization didn’t win, don’t worry. Land Rover may present the Defender Above & Beyond Service Awards for a second time this year. We will keep you updated on how to enter the contest.