In partnership with Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), Doosan Bobcat has announced U.S. Army veteran Andrew Long as the winner of a new Bobcat R-Series T76 compact track loader. Read Andrew’s story below or watch the video to learn how he plans to use the machine to give back to his community.
When Andrew Long heard he was in the running to win a Bobcat T76 compact track loader, he made sure to keep himself humble and not get his hopes up.
“I wasn’t expecting to win it,” Andrew says. “I kept telling myself, ‘You haven’t won anything your entire life!’”
So when Mike Ballweber, president of Doosan Bobcat North America, told him the good news, it was quite the surprise.
“I couldn’t believe it. It was between excitement and shock,” Andrew says. “I was like ‘There’s no way this is real.’ But, it’s real.”
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) and Doosan Bobcat created a partnership during CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020. They pledged to reward a deserving veteran with a brand-new T76 Bobcat compact track loader. Several veterans were nominated by WWP field staff, and Andrew was randomly selected.
The Invisible Wounds of War
Born and raised in Branchburg, New Jersey, Andrew is an avid history buff and outdoorsman. These combined interests prompted his decision to join the U.S. Army after high school, serving from 2010 to 2014 with a deployment to Afghanistan.
“I went to my unit down in North Polk, and I think it was a month, maybe, that I was there before I was already on my cop in Afghanistan,” Andrew says. “Where we were it was really poor. It was weird, the mountains were over here and then there’s an area that looks like the desert and then there’s lush, green farm land. Meanwhile, you’re getting shot at from every direction. It’s definitely an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything – the good and the bad.”
After returning home, Andrew faced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the effects of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a result of his service. To manage these invisible wounds, he decided to go to college to pursue his passion for music. After graduating, his career in music production intensified some of the health issues he sustained while serving, so he chose to trade in his desk job for farm work, and found ways to connect with other veterans.
“I found out about the Wounded Warrior Project through other veterans. Some of them had similar issues, and they had a really hard time, but some of them managed to turn things around,” Andrew says. “And if you meet even one other guy who did that, it’s inspirational. Having other veterans to talk to is so important.”
A Well-Deserved Delivery
Andrew’s experience with WWP and the support he received from other veterans has inspired him to find a way to pay it forward. Earlier this summer, he and Caroline, his fiancée, purchased a nearly 23-acre farm located in Elon, North Carolina. He has plans to reclaim the farm and use it to give back.
“I hope to support local veterans, either by hiring and teaching them or working with veteran-owned businesses,” Andrew says. “I want my farm to be a relaxing place for veterans to come where they are understood and respected. The T76 will be able to help bring my vision to life and transform my property into a place where they feel at home.” To celebrate Andrew, Bobcat teamed up with both WWP and Piedmont Bobcat, the local Bobcat dealer, to co-host a giveaway event followed by delivery of the T76 to Andrew’s farm.
“It is a privilege to honor Andrew by giving him a new Bobcat T76 track loader,” said Mike Ballweber, President of Doosan Bobcat North America. “As a company, we have a tremendous amount of respect for those who have bravely put their lives on the line for this country. Doosan Bobcat is proud to have a sizable number of veterans among our team members and dealers across the country – and today’s giveaway is just one way we can celebrate those selfless heroes.”
Putting the T76 to Use on the Farm
Andrew and Caroline plan to use their land to grow vegetables, maintain an orchard and start a chicken egg operation. But before that can happen, there is a lot of farm rehab that has to be done, including many construction projects – all of which Andrew can now use his Bobcat T76 to tackle in a fraction of the time he’d originally planned.
“It’s a beautiful machine, and I have so many projects I want to get started on right away,” Andrew says. “There is a lot of history here, and I have a vision for this farm. Before this, I planned on fulfilling it in 10 years or so. Now that I have the Bobcat loader, my vision for this property will come together exponentially faster.”
A Powerful Partnership
WWP and Doosan Bobcat joined forces starting in March 2020, when they debuted the partnership at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020 – North America’s largest construction trade show – to display its commitment to veterans in need. The Doosan Bobcat booth had a dedicated shop, with dual branded merchandise for sale as well as limited-edition scale models of a T76 camouflage-wrapped loader. After the show’s conclusion, the combined proceeds from the merchandise and scale model sales became an $81,000 donation to WWP. With this donation, WWP is able to continue supporting veterans and their families.
Bobcat Company’s partnership with WWP is part of our commitment to serve as a community partner by building strong relationships and providing financial and in-kind support to organizations that make a positive impact in communities. Read more about our community giving and volunteerism.