Polaris General for Combat Wounded Soldier, Monte Bernardo

In Warfighter Projects by Robert Blanton

 

 
Monte was deployed with the 82nd Airborne in Afghanistan when he stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device (I.E.D.) that caused him the loss of both legs, and his left hand. He reached out to us in hopes of getting ideas on how to put an electric shifter on his Honda 50cc “Pit Bike”. We asked him if he ever considered giving up two wheels, and getting into an RZR, which he agreed would be his ultimate goal, once the wallet allowed for it.

Knowing that Monte is an avid hunter, we reached out to Polaris and pitched them a plan to get Monte a vehicle that could get him in and out of his favorite hunting spots, but also be at home in the sand dunes as well. A couple weeks later, we had a new 4 seat General on our doorstep.

First things first! Hand controls. Our man Adam has already developed a set of mechanical hand controls that have become the preferred system for a number of vets with injuries that include, being paralyzed from the chest down, double leg amputees, and triple amputee. Adam wanted to raise the bar this time though and created a system that is fully rebuildable if that need ever arises, making it an enduring part of the build.

While Adam was working the details out on the hand controls, we were racking our brains trying to come up with a solid way for Monte to get his kills off the X, and back to camp. A quick Google search for ideas lead us to a company called Hook-A-Rack. They’ve already designed a system that was perfect for what we needed, and when we contacted them, they wanted to support what Warfighter Made was doing for Monte 100%, and donated their entire system.

We’ve had a long-standing relationship with our family over at Desert Works, so when we wanted to add a cage and roof, we knew exactly where we were going. Our brother Scott Bracci designed, fabbed, and built the one of a kind cage, then sent it over to Full Throttle Powder Coat to have it covered in matching silver. We were on an extremely tight timeline, and Scott (like always) went above and beyond to make sure the machine was ready in time, and this American Hero was hooked up.

Next, we headed over to PRP Seats to have them make a set of their XCs, with custom Army ACU camo pattern inlays, just to let everyone know Monte’s roots. BFGoodrich sent out their T/A KO2s and we wrapped them around Grid Off-Road GX2 bead locks, in a graphite finish. Baja Designs sent us a 30″ light bar and auxiliary pods while Assault Industries made sure Monte had mirrors on his General, and hooked him up with a grill too. One of the rear seats was removed, and Adam fabbed up a custom cooler holder that clipped in and out as the seat does, and it fits the Squatchboxx Lunchbox cooler perfectly.

We also wanted to make sure that Monte’s hunting rifle had a safe, dedicated place to be on his General, so we purchased him a hard case with liner, and because you can’t give someone an empty gun case, we called veteran-owned Deliberate Dynamics out of Utah, and they reached out to Christensen Arms who donated one of their bolt action rifles, and Vortex Optics who donated a scope. Lastly, we purchased a new 16′ tandem axle trailer, to make sure Monte and the ability to get a new machine to his favorite hunting trail, or at a minimum, at least get his machine out of our shop 😀

The reveal for this machine was during our 3rd annual Open House/Car Show, and we had about 200 people in attendance. We had a lot of fun showing off the General, and Rob got Adam to lay on the ground, and demonstrate how the Hook-A-Rack system works, then Rob and Monte went for a spin. It was quickly identified that the hand control was a little too long for Monte’s needs, but Adam was on it and had it working perfectly for Monte in 30 minutes’ time.

Warfighter Made would like to thank everyone who supported this build, and every who came to our event to celebrate this day with us.

SPONSORS

Polaris Industries   Desert Works   BFGoodrich   Baja Designs   PRP Seats   Hook-A-Rack   Grid Off-Road   WireCare

Squatchbxx   Odyssey Battery   Assault Industries   Deliberate Dynamics   Christensen Arms   Vortex Optics Lucas Oil