KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — East Tennessee nonprofit organization Appalachian Bear Rescue has been awarded a $25,000 grand prize and a brand new SUV as part of Land Rover’s 2022 Defender Service Awards presented by Chase.
ABR was announced as the award winner in the category of Animal Welfare Sunday at the Destination Defender event in the New York Hudson Valley. The group which cares for injured and orphaned black bear cubs before they’re returned to the wild will now receive $25,000 and a brand new, customized Land Rover Defender 130.
A presentation ceremony for the new vehicle will be held at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina in February 2023.
“A huge thank you to Land Rover, Chase, and Kong for this opportunity. The Defender 130 and the $25,000 award will help us continue to provide the best care possible for injured and orphaned black bear cubs and yearlings,” said Dana Dodd, Executive Director of Appalachian Bear Rescue. “We also thank our supporters and volunteers who faithfully voted throughout the Defender Service Awards contest. We couldn’t do our work without them!”
In a video made as part of the contest, ABR Lead Curator Coy Blair explained that the new SUV would help them reach more injured cubs in hard-to-reach areas. Blair said their current two-wheel drive SUV is 18 years old and struggles with the rugged terrain in some areas.
The price of a 2023 Land Rover Defender 130 starts at $68,000, according to Kelley Blue Book. A review on Kelley Blue Book’s website called the vehicle, “one of the most capable off-road SUVs money can buy.”
“On behalf of our fifteen big little bears, who care nothing about contests, vehicles, or money, we thank you, dear friends, for voting so faithfully,” ABR wrote on Facebook. “We’re proud to have you as partners in our mission. Because of you, we’re always winners.”