LAKELAND, Fla. — Classic car auctions often pull at your purse strings, but what took place in Lakeland over the weekend, also pulls at your heartstrings. A U.S. military jeep used in World War II was auctioned off for more than $30,000, and all that money goes right back to veterans in need.
The green jeep, made in 1944, and still running, rolled into Carlisle Auctions on the grounds of the Sun' n Fun Expo on Friday.
Angela Connor introduced the piece of American history. She is the founder of the Florida based Rescue 22 Foundation. Since 2018 they’ve provided service dogs to 34 veterans across the United States, while another 24 remain on the waiting list.
“They are expensive and one of the main reasons for that is the amount of time it takes to train a true service dog,” said Connor.
So all $31,000 raised in the sale of this jeep will go right back to Rescue 22. Veteran Byron Beplay knows firsthand how impactful the non-profit can be, they provided him with his dog Odin.
It’s huge because this dog saved my life, I’ve seen countless dogs that we provided to veterans who save other veterans lives,” said Beplay. “It’s so cool, I’m sitting there looking at this thing like wondering the story behind it, if this jeep could talk.”
Rescue 22 has already named two vets who will be receiving dogs thanks to the auction. One of them is Kelsey Lainhart, who was paralyzed from the waist down during the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“It will mean independence and that is everything for these veterans especially her, 20-years-old, she wants to get back out there and live an independent life,” said Connor.
As for the highest bidder, he’s not sure what he’s going to do with the jeep but he’s glad he bought it.
“If we can all chip in we can make this country a better place an I’m really happy to do it,” said Peter Wolff.