BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — You may remember a story we brought to you back in August about a new program called Shift 6 that the Wounded Heroes Fund was trying to start. Well exciting news - the program is kicking off with its first official event this month.
Curtis Rutledge was in the army for 12 years and did three tours of Iraq. Now he’s the Assistant Grant Coordinator at the Wounded Heroes Fund, and recently became the founder of a brand new program called Shift 6.
“Our motto is ‘Rehab, Rebuild, Ride.' Our mission statement is, you know, to help veterans by pairing them with the automotive industry [to] help them with reintegration into society by teaching them automotive life skills.”
Through Shift 6, veterans can work alongside each other at local automotive businesses, learning skills like welding or painting.
On October 24, the first official opportunity to do so will take place at the Born Vintage Hot Rod Shop The event is free and lunch will be provided while veterans get to tour the shop, see some body work and start learning those automotive skills.
Curtis said this not only gives veterans new ways to apply themselves, but also provides a sense of fulfillment.
“When you start doing certain things, especially in today’s day and age, especially with everything going on, gaining a new skill set will boost morale, boost confidence and stuff like that," he said.
Curtis grew up working on cars with his grandfather and finds doing so therapeutic. He said. he can’t wait to share that with fellow veterans.
“Being able to help veterans who might not have that right now, it’s big because it’s therapeutic for me and helps me with my issues from the past and so I think that any time that you can instill some type of greatness in people, it’s always going to be beneficial for everybody," he said.
Curtis has been working to make this program happen for quite awhile now, and said seeing it finally become a reality leaves him nearly speechless.
“It’s humbling it’s very humbling. To me, it’s amazing. You can’t, I’m also at a loss for words, so you know I just hope that the rest of the people that haven’t heard or seen it yet, they check it out and fall in love with it as much as we do," he said.
To participate in the upcoming event, contact the Wounded Heroes Fund at 661-328-8600 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or message them on social media.