Photo by Bryan Hutton
Proven in the gritty, hard-knocks conditions of World War II, Jeeps have been battle-tested on the field and on some of the most grueling off-road trails and conditions on earth. But few vehicles can weather a direct hit of a Category 5 tornado. But Bryan Hutton's 2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon did more than survive, it survived to live another day to assist in rescue efforts in the neighborhood.
With Hutton's wife Brenda serving in Afghanistan, it was just Bryan and his 2-1/2-year-old son Randy. Randy and Bryan decided to take a road trip from their home in Dayton, Ohio, to Bryan's childhood home of Moore, Oklahoma. Little did he know they were headed straight into the center of one of the worst natural disasters in the state's history.
Photo by Bryan Hutton
Once the storm sirens started going off, Hutton and his family headed for the underground shelter. The noise was deafening, and as soon as the storm passed, it was apparent the damage was every bit as severe as the noise suggested it would be.
Thinking a step ahead, Hutton had parked his Wrangler in his parents' garage to give it some semblance of protection, and had put it in 4-Low before the storm came, just in case. The Jeep definitely had some storm damage, but to Hutton's surprise, fired right up when he put the key in it. After getting it out of the garage, and removing some of the storm debris from the interior, Hutton became one of the first responders at the scene, assisting neighbors with help from the Warn winch.
Photo by Jennifer Hutton-Haskins
With an obliterated windshield, severely damaged sheetmetal, and thousands of dollars worth of storm- related damage, Hutton was ready to write off his Wrangler as a total loss. After sharing photos of the hard-working Jeep on Facebook, he got an offer from Crocker Off-Road Performance in Phoenix, Arizona, to rebuild the Jeep, as soon as it's released from insurance adjusters. His Jeep, nicknamed Stomper is currently in insurance limbo, but Crocker has committed to rebuilding it as soon as they can. You can follow progress at facebook.com/TheRebuildingofStomper.
Photo by Lance Kenyon
Photo by Derek Wahkinney