Gear-hauling High Country model is as tough as the athletes it supports
DETROIT – Having just completed four marathons in handcycles since early October – including the notoriously cold and windy New York City Marathon eight days ago – members of the Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans are spending Veterans Day recuperating with friends and family until competitions resume in January.
In the meantime, the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado High Country truck that supports the team will stay on its training regimen, transporting cycles from New York to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. once a month to help more wounded veterans rebuild their lives through marathons and other athletic activities.
Chevrolet donated the truck to the Achilles Freedom Team at last year’s Army-Navy Game.
“Our veterans deserve the very best we can give them,” said Sandor Piszar, director, Truck Marketing, at Chevrolet.
In addition to the Walter Reed visits to recruit new members and meet with physical therapists, Achilles hauls the Freedom Team’s three-wheel hand cycles, helmets and other gear from venue to venue.
The Silverado even has a nickname – “Reese” – for its saddle brown interior that reminds the team of a certain chocolate/peanut butter treat.
“We’ve put a little over 20,000 miles on it so far and it drives and hauls like a dream,” said Joe Traum, director of handcycle and kayak programs for Achilles International. Traum’s father, Dick, founded the organization and in 1976 was the first athlete to finish a marathon with a prosthetic leg.
In October alone, Joe Traum and Achilles Freedom Team director Janet Patton used the truck to haul gear from the organization’s New York headquarters to Chicago, Detroit, back to New York, then to the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. and back to the New York Marathon.
“I really like the sound and the power of the 6.2L V-8 – we pulled a 16-foot trailer and it sure didn’t feel like it,” said Traum. “I didn’t have to put it in 4WD to keep it in line; it just pulled strong and straight.”
To accommodate and secure the athletes’ gear, Les Stanford Chevrolet in Dearborn, Mich., the dealership that prepped the truck for Achilles, provided multiple tie-downs and storage options in the bed to maximize the cargo-carrying ability. A matching cap helps keep the gear secure when the truck is parked overnight.
Although an experienced hauler, Traum said the truck’s rear vision camera helped greatly in Chicago as he navigated the truck and trailer down a lane’s-width entrance into the parking lot.
“A guy standing nearby told me what a great job I did and then glanced into the truck and saw the screen,” Traum said.
The Silverado High Country is the most premium entry in Chevrolet’s full-size truck lineup. The standard engine is the 5.3L EcoTec3 V-8, SAE-certified at 355 horsepower (250 kW), with class-leading V-8 fuel economy of up to 23 mpg highway (2WD models). The 6.2L EcoTec3 V-8 is available. Both engines feature direct fuel injection, Active Fuel Management and continuously variable valve timing, providing the refined power and torque truck customers expect. Both seamlessly switch to four-cylinder mode to save fuel during light-load driving.
The Silverado’s next major road trip is in January 2015, when Achilles will transport 12 handcycle competitors and six runners to the Walt Disney World Half-Marathon in Orlando, Fla. Next spring, Achilles is using part of the $700,000 in proceeds from the auction of a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro COPO to send more athletes to the Los Angeles Marathon in March and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in San Diego in May.
General Motors has donated more than $1 million to the Achilles Freedom Team in the past five years, helping more than 1,000 veterans. Along with the truck, the donation helps cover the cost of registration fees, gear, cycles, jerseys, transportation, meals and other expenses.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevroletis now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.9 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.
About GM’s Military Support
With thousands of military veteran employees, General Motors’ support for the United States armed forces spans generations. Today, Chevrolet assists Cell Phones for Soldiers, Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans, a variety of employment and grassroots initiatives, and is the Official Vehicle of the Army-Navy game. The GM Military Discount program offers discounts on most Chevrolet, Buick and GMC vehicles for active duty, reserves, retirees, veterans (within one year of separation) and spouses of the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and National Guard. GM participates in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes initiative aimed at finding meaningful employment for veterans transitioning to civilian life.
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