December 22, 2022
Midland Radio partnered with the Dakota Wheelin' Club to help them raise money for veterans and first responders.
Michael Wilson founded the Dakota Wheelin' Club several years ago with his fiancé.
“We kind of got involved with a national Jeep club. They weren’t quite ready to branch out quite like they thought they could. We really enjoyed their thought process on giving back to veterans, active military, first responders so we decided to just do it ourselves," WIlson said.
Originally, it was just Jeeps, but it has since expanded to include all 4x4s. The Dakota Wheelin' Club has 40 due paying members and over 1,000 followers.
Just like the types of vehicles included expanded, so did the club's mission. It moved beyond veterans, active military, and first responders to include other charities like The Children's Inn for those impacted by domestic violence and child abuse. Service had to be a priority of the club because of Wilson's own experience.
“I’m a firefighter so that goes hand in hand. My family has always been very service oriented. Many of us are in the service to some degree through police departments, fire departments, EMS, or military. I just saw this as a good way to give back in that reference.”
While there are 40 crew members (club members), the club opens up the events to anyone interested.
The Pavement to Boulders Event is one of the club's biggest fundraisers of the year. Wilson said they worked to continue to grow the event this year.
“This year we added an obstacle course to the show which everybody just absolutely enjoyed. Even those who don't go on the trails got to go get some dirt and scrapes underneath them. Everybody had a really good time.”
This year they collaborated with Moparama All Mopar Car Show in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
“There was the concert, food vendors, a bar. It was kind of a big party."
The beneficiary this year was the South Dakota Military Heritage Alliance.
"It’s a 501(c)3 that works with the American Legion and the VFW. They have about 14 different programs for veterans and active military," Wilson said.
The goal was to raise $10,000, but the Dakota Wheelin' Club was able to raise $12,000.
Wilson was proud the group was able to raise the money for people that have given them so much.
"It’s one of those things where it’s the least we can do especially right now with the suicide rate as it is amongst service members and our veterans. Anything and everything we can do to pour resources into it, it just makes a person feel good.”
Giving back, Wilson said, has always been part of the 4x4 community.
“We’ve always felt like the Jeep community has a passion for servitude and wanting to give back," he added.
Midland Radio helped the Dakota Wheelin' Club raise money by donating GXT1000VP4 Two-Way GMRS Radio and X-Talker T290VP4 Two-Way Radio for the raffle and X-Talker T51X3VP3 Walkie Talkie Three Pack for staff to use at the event.
Wilson said many in the group are making the switch from CB radios to GMRS two-way radios.
“In the past, people have always used CB radios, but now people are moving towards GMRS. Now that the license cost has gone down, it’s an extremely reasonable price for a reliable form of communication," he said.
Wilson reached out to Midland Radio because of reliable GMRS two-way radio communication.
“Midland has a good reputation of quality, dependability, and ease of use. I know some of the other guys who have other types of radios, they spend a good amount of time messing around with their radios trying to figure them out whereas Midland is really user-friendly.”
Having communication the club can count on while exploring trails is extremely important for a number of reasons- safety, efficiency, and connection.
“Anytime that we’re out doing the trails, communication between the Jeeps and the individuals in the Jeeps is key if someone was to break down, if we need to let someone know what’s up ahead of them, or warning them of danger. Without two-way radios we’re sitting inside our vehicles all by ourselves or with our family, but have no other contact with the group.”