Polaris Off Road announced the winners of its Polaris Salutes American Heroes campaign. The patriotic campaign was created to honor Polaris’ American roots and recognize its network of owners and dealers who are making significant contributions to better their communities.
Launching shortly after Memorial Day, Polaris Salutes American Heroes called upon consumers to nominate Polaris owners or dealership employees within the U.S. that exemplify the qualities of modern-day heroes in one of five categories. The nominations shared stories of individuals going out of their way to help others and positively impact their communities – from critical jobs that often go without thanks, to volunteers that give selflessly in good times and bad, to thoughtful colleagues at local dealerships and other independent businesses. Culminating on the Fourth of July, six nominees were recognized as winners, including five Polaris owners (one for each of the five categories) and one dealership employee.
“Polaris has always placed tremendous value on the power of determination, tenacity and purpose,” said Steven Menneto, president of Off Road, Polaris. “This year more than ever we’ve seen our network of owners and dealers face challenges head-on and find creative solutions to support their communities. The winners of the Polaris Salutes American Heroes campaign embody the values that our company and this country were built on and we are honored to share their achievements and unique stories.”
The winners include:
- Protecting America: Polaris owner Nathan Lowder is an Emergency Department nursing manager and EMS manager at Franciscan Health Mooresville in Indiana. As the only full-service hospital in Morgan county, Lowder has been putting in countless hours to ensure patients are receiving the best care possible. For the past 12 years he has also volunteered as a firefighter, EMT and EMS coordinator at the Morgantown Volunteer Fire Department. Through his volunteer work he has used his Polaris RZR and Sportsman to respond to calls and reach injured patients where EMS trucks are unable to drive.
- Healing America: Karrah Lambert is an oncology nurse and end of life doula with Ascension St. John Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, visiting restrictions in hospitals were put in place and families were unable to spend time with their loved ones. Lambert worked hard and fast to develop an end of life bereavement team that would spend time with patients and help them virtually connect with family members. This was the first team of its kind and was formed out of necessity due to the pandemic. The team continues the thoughtful approach when patients pass by printing out the last recorded heartbeat and sealing it in a small glass bottle to give to the family. Lambert continues to lead this team, along with her daily oncology nurse duties all while continuing her education.
- Growing America: Teachers are the unsung heroes in many lives and with the pandemic they were faced with a new challenge. Chillicothe, Illinois based Heather Baker is a prime example of this as she rose to the challenge and quickly adapted her teaching style to facilitate virtual learning. She exceeded requirements established for online learning and made sure every student in her class of 22 still received quality, one-on-one instruction to minimize the impact on the children’s education. To end on a high note, Baker made plans for a socially-distanced visit with each student at the end of the schoolyear, so she could express her heartfelt farewell and celebrate their achievements in-person.
- Raising Up America: Roy Tuscany was an aspiring professional skier when he sustained an injury that severed 45% of his spinal cord. Since then, he has dedicated his life to providing resources to others in similar situations through his non-profit foundation in Reno, Nevada named High Fives. As a Polaris RZR owner, Tuscany provides what he calls “throttle therapy” to those impacted by life changing injuries. The organization gathers funds to install hand controls in off-road vehicles and organizes outings for disabled off-road enthusiasts to enjoy the freedom and joy of riding. Since starting the foundation in 2009 he has helped an estimated 300 people across 38 states.
- Sustaining America: The supply chain has never been more critical and a crucial, but often overlooked part of that is the supplies required to get packages across the country. Polaris RZR and Sportsman owner Kevin Arnold lives in Louisburg, North Carolina and is an industrial maintenance mechanic at International Paper where he has been working tirelessly to help manufacture cardboard boxes while demand for at-home deliveries soared. He continuously puts others needs before his own and is a necessary asset to his company and local community.
- Dealer Employee Winner: Doug Classen is an employee at Country Feeds dealership in Montezuma, Kansas and a 20-year veteran for the local volunteer EMS department. Well-known for being a dependable employee and excellent partner for fellow volunteers, Classen always goes above and beyond in putting others needs before his own. When the pandemic hit, that was even more evident as he was the first to voice concerns and suggest measures to support colleagues that were considered high-risk and keep them out of harm’s way – including one who was battling cancer. His nomination summed up those values best, stating: “he would give you the shirt off his back, if it was the last thing he owned.” Employees like Classen are a mainstay of Polaris dealerships – all of which operate as local independent businesses.
The five owner winners will receive a $1,000 donation made by Polaris Foundation to a charity of their choice and a summer prize pack worth more than $500 MSRP, including a cooler, summer gear and other Polaris accessories. The dealer employee winner will receive a $500 donation made by Polaris Foundation to a charity of their choice, along with the summer prize pack.