June '19

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64 THE SHOP JUNE 2019 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ ate last year, U.S. Army Cpl. James Wesley Trent was on leave at home in Florida after a year-long tour in the Middle East when he found his newly customized truck stolen, stripped and burned. A few days prior he had proudly been rolling in the gold Ford F-250 Super Duty—now it was reduced to a charred wreck. Insurance replaced Trent's truck with a used stock model, but it was a far cry from the custom- built original. After he returned to his base in Fort Bliss, Texas, Trent's parents received a phone call from an off-road industry figure offering to help. "Last year while watching the news I saw the unfortunate tragedy that happened to Cpl. Trent," said Phil Gottes, CEO of TuffTruck- in Boca Raton, Florida. "When I heard this, I knew we could help build this soldier a new custom truck." When Trent returned to his Florida home to celebrate his birthday he got quite the surprise. Gottes and his wife Lisa drove four hours across Florida to attend the birthday celebration. Trent, surrounded by friends and family, was promised by Gottes that his new truck would be entirely customized free of charge. Gottes sought support from the industry and "the response was incredible," he reveals. American Force Wheels promised new 22-inch rims. Fabtech, AXIS Driveline and Yukon Gear donated a suspension lift kit and drivetrain components. Fab Fours, Ranch Hand, Bushwacker, Rolling Big Power (RBP) and Truck Hero supplied bumpers, side steps, fender flares, a rack, grille and bed cover. Spec-D provided custom headlights. More than $30,000 worth of donated truck parts began arriving at the 4 Wheel Parts store in El Paso, Texas, which donated the labor. On March 2, Gottes flew to El Paso to join the 4WP crew to present Trent with his finished custom truck. As the flag-wrapped pickup rolled up to the staging area, news crews and 4WP supporters joined Trent and his family and friends in applause and cheers. "It's a feeling I can't fully comprehend yet," Trent told TV station KTSM. "It means the world to me. It means that we're not doing it for nothing." EDITOR'S NOTE: This ar ticle originally appeared on THE SHOP's website. Sign up for our free eNewsletter that brings all the industry news to your inbox daily at Industry Rallies to Replace Soldier's Stolen Truck L \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ ONE MORE THING... Phil Gottes, CEO of Tuff- in Boca Raton, Florida, with help from Rick Gonzalez and the 4 Wheel Parts crew in El Paso, Texas, led an effort to replace an Army soldier's stolen customized pickup.

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