Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. recently partnered with Team Record the Journey, a non-profit entry in the 2019 Rebelle Rally, which is the first all-women’s off-road navigation rally raid in the U.S. and the longest competition of its kind in the lower 48 states. 

Record the Journey was founded by Rachael Ridenour, a U.S. Army combat veteran who served her country for 31 years. The organization utilizes photography as a therapy modality for veterans and their families.

Ridenour, who has seen active duty in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, got the idea for the rally team while dealing with her own challenges as she attempted to readjust to civilian life following her service. 

“The transition from military deployment to arriving home with your family can be abrupt and disorienting,” Ridenour stated. “Through my own process, I realized that when you’re looking through the lens of a camera, you’re forced to be in the present, not thinking about the past or the future. You can express yourself without having to use words, and it’s an activity that you can easily share with others to reestablish human connection.” 

For the 2019 Rebelle Rally, Ridenour (who also serves as the team's lead navigator) partnered with driver Karah Behrend, a seven-year U.S. Air Force veteran who was forced to medically retire after losing the use of her lower extremities and parts of her hand to a degenerative neurological disease.  

Behrend became the first disabled athlete to compete in the Rebelle when she and Ridenour began the rally in Lake Tahoe, California earlier this month. During the event, Team Record the Journey was behind the wheel of a minimally modified 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross equipped with hand controls specifically tailored for Behrend.

The partnership between Mitsubishi and Team Record the Journey marks the first step in MMNA’s new corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative dubbed “Small Batch - Big Impact.” Under this new initiative, the manufacturer and its dealer partners will focus on doing the most good for their respective communities. 

“‘Small Batch’ is our new marketing vision, and we said at the outset that it would go beyond advertising to influence every aspect of our business in the U.S.,” said Kimberly Gardiner, the vice president and chief marketing officer for MMNA. “‘Small Batch - Big Impact’ is a new aspect of that philosophy, and we couldn’t have found a better nonprofit to receive our first ‘Community Utility Vehicle’ loan than Record the Journey.”

Going forward, Record the Journey plans to use the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross as a support vehicle for charity programming with other veterans and their families as well as many other promotional activities.

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