A military team is testing the limits of a solar and battery-powered, street-legal golf cart by taking it on a 4,000 mile trip across America. The 10-person team made up mostly of Coasties is hoping to raise $50,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project.
The idea for the trip came to Chief Electrician’s Mate Ray Rehberg while on the job at Coast Guard Training Center Yorktown, Va.
“It was born in the classroom,” said Rehberg, who is an instructor at the training center. They were wondering how far they could actually drive a golf cart on battery power alone.
But they have another important motive for the trip:stopping at local VFWs, American Legions, veteran hospitals and military bases to reconnect with the country’s veterans.
Rehberg has been collecting veteran stories and posts them in a Captain’s log on the Carting for a Cause Facebook page.
Listening to the stories, Rehberg said, has inspired him to get more involved with veterans in his own area.
Rehberg said he has gotten teary-eyed when he hears war stories, or a World War II vet recite his service number by heart.
“I would encourage people to go and meet veterans in their local communities,” Rehberg said, “and talk to veterans and listen to their stories, before it’s too late.”
Rehberg said the road trip in the golf cart has also allowed him to see the thriving American culture in the back roads of the country.
“We had a lady bake us a pie … and it was good,” he said. The same lady also set out an American flag to greet the golf cart team.
“There is a lot of goodness in America you are not seeing in TV,” he said.
The team started their trek near the Chief Petty Officers Academy in Petaluma, Calif., on April 29, and are scheduled to end the trip on May 26 in Yorktown, Va. While the golf cart is rolling through all 4,000 miles, team members are switching on and off the mission as time allows.
Before they get to Yorktown, Rehberg is trying to coordinate a stop at the White House. He said he’d love to park the Golf Cart in the White House lawn on May 24 to bring some attention to the cause.
Donations to support Carting for a Cause can be made at their website or by sending a check made payable to the “Wounded Warrior Project” to:
PO Box 6533
USCG Training Center Yorktown
Yorktown, VA 23690
And Rehberg said the team can also accept donations at one of their scheduled stops across the country. So far, they are about a quarter of the way to meeting their goal of $50,000, he said.