It’s no secret that our military veterans have a rough go of things when they get home from deployment. Members of the armed forces undergo a terrible toll while serving. PTSD is all too common among them, and the healing process is long and complicated. It’s also pretty well-known that a lot of former military men and women get so used to the power of military hardware that only a diesel will satisfy that craving once they arrive at home and require a personal vehicle. What if there were a way to use that passion to solve the other problem? Stafford Hampton is trying to do exactly that.
Finding A Solution
Stafford, who is active duty Air Force currently, started a foundation called Patriot Outdoor Solution in 2014 that aims to ease the stress of deployments for servicemen and women. He says, “They can only get so much medical treatment from the VA for PTSD symptoms and stuff like that. Some of them have legitimate physical problems and impairments, so I take them out and get them in the outdoors for therapy, whether it’s fishing, four-wheeling, or trail riding. That’s kind of the gist of the foundation. It’s been going stronger and stronger every step. Really, it’s a foundation where we run off donations.”
The so-called “flagship” vehicle for Patriot Outdoor is a 2017 RAM 2500 Crew Cab, equipped with a five-inch drop-arm bracket lift from Rough Country Suspension, 37x13.5x17 Toyo Open Country MT tires, a Go Rhino winch bumper on the front with a 12,000-pound Rough Country remote winch, an S&B cold air intake wet filter, a five-inch Flo-Pro turbo-back exhaust, and tuning from Pela Motorsports with a CSP4 switch with four EFILive tunes. Future plans for the truck include a 69mm BD Diesel turbo, 150hp injectors, ARP head studs, and a Banks twin ram intake.
“Initially, the truck was going to be a vehicle that we would travel in and have everybody pile in and pull a trailer and all that stuff,” Stafford says. “But then it became a little bit more. It became the staple of the foundation, so that’s what we wheel in. We do road trips and things like that so we kind of built it around what we thought the organization would be themed around.”
For Love Of Country
Stafford has always had a love for diesel, but his path actually started out not on land but on sea. Because he grew up in Florida and went fishing all the time, he was very familiar with marine diesel engines, such as Yanmar, Detroit Diesel, and others. Once he got a little older, he had a friend who was a diesel mechanic who introduced him to tuning, because “You know, when you’re young, all you want to do is go fast and see smoke come out!” That got the bug in him and he’s been pursuing it ever since.
As the foundation has progressed, so have his plans for expanding it. He wants to get even more vehicles for everyone to use, and is even right in the middle of tricking out a 12-valve Cummins extended cab flatbed that should be done by the time you read this. He says, “Right now we’re doing tunes and tuning up the 7100 pump. What we’re going to do is kind of bore it out so it can feed a little more fuel through, and then get it head studded, a bigger turbo, a five-inch Rough Country lift. You know, all the goodies!”
He’s also looking to purchase a plot of land with a modular home or perhaps a permanent structure that will be where they can house everyone for the weekend and do “cool weekend trips. That’s the long-term vision. We’re looking at working that next year.”
Patriot Outdoor’s mission statement is to protect and serve. As Stafford tells me, “The goal for the company is to be an available resource to every veteran, active duty military or public servant. We have a mission to raise $75,000 by the end of this year. This provides service for the members to participate and not have any out-of-pocket expense or obligation and also helps the ability to provide sanctuary for more severe cases.”
He continues, “It started with a need to decompress after deployments. Since 2001 the deployment tempo has risen astronomically and active duty and veteran suicide has increased to two deaths per day. I decided to take action in a more relatable manner to servicemen and become a ‘liaison’ for their off-road and outdoor needs; even if that meant me sacrificing time and money it was the least I could do to help extinguish a growing epidemic in the military community. One of our success stories is a medically retired special operations member who will remain unnamed. He was unemployed, diagnosed with PTSD and depression and was often suicidal. We met and counseled this gentleman in the summer of 2014 and fast forward to May 2017, he is happily married, employed with the Department of Defense, and avid in the outdoors. The most recent member is retired KC-135 boom operator an F-15 Eagle “Keeper” Casey Ham. He now works for the DOD as an analyst and served in multiple tours for Operation Enduring Freedom in Iraq. He encountered what most first responders do: people at their worst, injuries and casualties that a normal citizen will never encounter, and it left him with the everlasting memories that haunt him today. I whole-heartedly believe God gave me a platform to do His work in helping service members and the community and I am thankful for every opportunity.”
Stafford is truly doing amazing things for these men and women. If you’d like to help them reach their goal, contribute at www.gofundme.com/patriot-outdoor-solution.