2019 Fallen 5 Drive Events

2019 has been quite the year so far! The Fallen 5 Drive is still alive and rolling thank God! I have attended 2 events for the Fallen 5 – the Coker Tire Cruise In at Jordan Park and the Military Kids Serve Too at the Creative Discovery Museum.

At each event I allow kids to get in an start it up. Often they are seen revving the truck to 6,200 RPM with huge grins on their faces! The sound of clean freedom rings out to inspire these little spirits and to honor the Fallen 5! These acts are my medicine that help me in life. I live to serve others, especially those in our communities who deserve it.

As you may know, since getting rear ended in the Blazer of Glory in September of 2018 – my life has changed. I survived a 45 MPG impact and so did the truck. Neither the truck nor I was able to recover as quickly as I had hoped. However, I designed the truck to take such an impact so I and others would survive if there was such an accident.

There are still damages on the truck that need to be fixed although it still drives. It has limped along so far to the short events locally. I will need help fixing it as I have limited resources so reach out with support such a access to a garage and an area to store the truck.

I will keep everyone updated as we progress!

Thank you,

Joshua David Kapellusch

2019 Fallen 5 Drive Sponsorship Opportunity – Now Open!

Click here for a PDF of the letter: Sponsorship Letter, 2019

 

Dear Supporter,

I am on a mission to never forget the Fallen 5 – the 4 Marines and 1 Sailor who were killed in the terrorist attack on July 16th, 2015 in Chattanooga, TN. I have dedicated an annual 5,000-mile drive from Chattanooga, TN to San Francisco, CA in their honor, by carrying a special folded American flag from the shooting site and then flying it from the Golden Gate Bridge. I named it the “Fallen 5 Drive”.  I am turning a tragedy into a triumph with your help, to heal our community and spread the message of unity and love across our country – values we all Americans share.

To make the trip a success I need sponsorship and donations to cover the costs for the mission. Each year I receive support from the community in and around Chattanooga to help involve others and provide a healing mission. I demonstrate how we Americans can work together in times of need and how we never forget about the people who sacrifice everything to protect others.

By sponsoring the trip your organization will benefit from the positive associations of helping out a great cause. To never forget is our mantra… never forget about the Fallen 5, the police and fire departments, the service members who never made it home, and for those still serving. Americans always answer the call to serve, we always have. I am asking for your help in carrying the message of never forgetting the Fallen 5 heroes for 5,000 plus miles and for the rest of the year.

Sponsoring the trip will generate a huge amount of positive publicity and community goodwill on your behalf, due to the fact that the mission is vitally important to our community and country. The truck looks so different and cool and receives a ton of attention – and it is also the World’s First 5 Fueled Automobile! It is a vehicle for a larger message of how Americans work together for an improved future and inspire one another. Sponsorship can come in many ways such as financial contributions, parts, or volunteering. You will be listed on www.fallen5drive.org, our Facebook page, and other social media accounts to show your support. Naming you or your organization is possible at every news interview on TV and radio, in press releases, in local and national newspapers, and other coverages.

By sponsoring the 2019 mission you will have the opportunity to support a once-in-a-lifetime memorial, a completely original truck, and be affiliated with setting at least 1 World Record or more! The mission will take place in August or September for the 4th consecutive year. Sponsorships are filling fast so a quick response will ensure you get the best exposure for your organization. If you cannot sponsor the mission please share the mission with others, visit the website, like and share the Facebook page, and follow the mission as we embark on the journey.

Contact Joshua Kapellusch – the founder of the Fallen 5 Drive and builder of the truck for more information. Visit www.fallen5drive.org for updates and to read more about the mission.

Thank you and sincerely,

Joshua D. Kapellusch

423.414.8233

fallen5drive@gmail.com

 

 

Fallen 5 Drive Update, 2019

I am getting the truck rolling again for the Fallen 5 Drive mission for 2019!

After recovering from being rear-ended by a car in the blazer, I have a new purpose and mission. Watch the video for more updates! Stay tuned as we ramp up for 2019’s Fallen 5 Drive! Thank you for your support! Like and share this page and video to support the Fallen 5 Drive!

The Return Home

The only thing left to do for the annual ceremony after folding up the flag is to put ocean water on the flag and tires to connect the two bodies of water. When we leave the shooting site I dip my tires into the Tennessee River and put river water on the flag. When I arrive on the coast the bodies of water are connected. The final connection for the completion of the mission is to dip my tires back into the Tennessee River and put final drops of water on the flag until next year.

Once off the bridge I feel an extreme weight lifted off my shoulders. The first 5 days and the 6th day are all about getting to the bridge in time without breaking down. Even months before leaving I must begin preparing for the mission. Last year I had to leave late due to a lack of funds to leave on the 16th of July – the annual date of the attack. We chose instead to be on the bridge on September 11th and it was very special. This year I raised more funds before leaving and also worked hard to save money up. I also plan my whole summer around making this trip. I have never worked harder in my life, prior to leaving for the 2018 trip, to prepare the truck and my schedules.

That last little drive over the bridge is so exhilarating! Mission complete…until I get home! I am relieved of duty at this point! I made plans to meet my best friend from when I was in the Air Force who lives in San Francisco. He and his friend went surfing as Mack and I sat on the beach relaxing watching the waves crash and flow. Throughout the trip it was my goal to have deep self-reflection and really address some things in my life that needed to be dealt with. I struggle with depression and am technically a serviced disabled veteran, although I struggle with shame admitting this.

This trip gives me hope for each coming year to do something that gives me purpose, which is unique, and can be used for good for others. I fight my depression not with pills, but with positive actions. I try hard to do good things for good people and teach others what I have learned. I make a personal goal to do a good deed for someone or something each day. This is my medicine; kindness. I honestly wonder sometimes if I actually suffer from depression, or is it the world that is depressing? By doing good things I can serve both philosophies, positively. However, I forget to focus on myself and address my own problems at times. This year’s trip allowed me to reach new levels of understanding, vulnerability, patience, and knowledge as I persisted to challenging my insecurities.

In the military you harden your heart. You learn to not feel or express emotion –basic human functions – to better do your job. After years of challenging experiences, a hardened heart and mind, and some trauma you are different forever. The hardest thing to ever do is soften a hardened heart or try to connect to people who have never served in the military. The bonds veterans share across all branches in the Department of Defense, is one of the strongest ever created. Even over generations a single look and head nod is all that’s needed to convey a thought of understanding. Sometimes a tear or two will fall from an expressionless face. We veterans all know without words, the meaning behind every tear we shed for the sacrifices we all made to make this country a better place for all of us. We all gave some, some gave all.

As I watched those waves coming over and over I realized the waves are like problems in life – they keep coming each a little different, but they never stop. We have the choice to keep swimming or to stop fighting and drown. With each powerful wave is a lull. In these lulls we recover and regain our strength for the next one. My hope is to inspire others to achieve their dreams as I have no matter what they are or how crazy they may seem. The Blazer of Glory is a vehicle of innovation and inspiration.

After getting even colder sitting on the beach we were finally ready to eat. I had not eaten all day! I invited my friend Casey to perform the water ceremony on the flag as it would have a lot of meaning for both of us. It was a special ceremony for me to do with one of my best friends. After eating and saying our goodbyes I set out to see my Mother and Step-father who haul produce from California. In about 3 hours I then saw my Mother way out in some field full of fog at midnight! This was pretty special. After saying hello and giving some coffee away I said goodbye as they drove off. I was exhausted and ready for bed. There was no way I was going to drive anymore in that fog! Mack and I slept until later in the morning. This was the first time I felt fully rested in 7 days!

The next part of the journey was to realize a dream of mine for years…cruise the California coast in my convertible, American truck using clean American fuels. I was headed south to LA and The Enthusiast Network TEN, the headquarters for Hot Rod Magazine, Roadkill, and many more. My goal was to get noticed and publicized to further reach more people and inspire kids into responsible, high-tech hot rodding. The Blazer of Glory is loved by everyone.

Mack and I arrived late into the night. Driving into LA at 3:00 am to the hot rod mecca of the world was a thrill. I may or may not have shredded the flag on the solar panel due to some excessive speeds. 2 days earlier I noticed the flag starting to come apart and my little blasts didn’t help. Once in the parking lot I decided to make friends with the security guard who was awesome, and then I drove around for a bit checking out some Roadkill cars and finding a place to park and sleep. It was my intention to sleep in the parking lot, wake up and stay until someone noticed us. That’s exactly what we did!

After completing that mission, I was free to drive further south to visit my best friend from high school. He and his wife live the good life on the coast so I had no problem spending 2 days there. On my way back home to Chattanooga on the southern route via Interstate 40 east, I visit my Great Grandfather who is a WWII veteran of the Navy and who sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge many times during the war. I spent another 2 days in Las Vegas with him, went gambling for the first time with $5.00, and created memories that will last a lifetime. Driving into Vegas I hit a sand storm then intense rain which all blew straight into my face.

I look forward to getting home as quick as I can. I use mostly natural gas along the southern route home because it is the cheapest and is always available. I filled the propane tank in Vegas and never filled it again. I stopped in Winslow, Arizona and in Oklahoma City. I stopped in to see the Farmtruck and Farmbird. I was hoping to meet the guys from the show, but they were not there. Mack and I then set out for home with no other planned stops other than for food, fuel, or rest.

We had a pretty major breakdown. My driveshaft blew out on the freeway at about 65 mph which was my biggest fear with that truck. I put the truck in 4wd, backed up to pick up my driveshaft, and got off on the next exit. Normally I would just keep driving in front wheel drive, but for some reason this year all my 46-year-old spinning parts wanted to come apart. I found a small repair shop and they graciously offered floor space, spare parts, gave me $20.00, and bought my supper! I could not believe the kindness of Adam & Brooke Dishman in Warner, Oklahoma. If you need any kind of repair visit their shop Waysen Tire & Lube at 15 Williamson Circle, Warner, OK 74469. 919.913.4304. I “band aided” the driveshaft together and even welded the u-joint caps to the rear yoke since it was extensively damaged.

Mack and I made it back home on the 16th of August after 14 days on the road and ~ 5,300 miles later. We finished the mission by dipping our tires in the Tennessee River and finally by putting water on the flag. Looking at the next 2 years, I am thinking about how to make it better, different, and more meaningful.

I express the deepest and most sincere thank you to my sponsors, my supporters, my friends, family, and strangers on the road who become my heroes. Thank you,

Thank you to our sponsors and contributors for making this mission possible!

Mtn View Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Ringgold, GA

Grace Frank Group in Chattanooga, TN

Off-Grid Living & Design – Tiny Homes in Wildwood, GA

Joshua Kapellusch

2018 Fallen 5 Drive, Out.

The Return Home

Day 6 The Bridge

On day 6 I awoke to the sound of a small sea plane flying low and couldn’t help but think of all the WWII aircraft that would have been flying around in the early 1940’s. I love air planes and so this was perfect to wake up to. I also heard seagulls, wind, people, and my loud tarp flapping in the wind as it had every night so far. I peeked out of my tarp and saw it, the Golden Gate Bridge. The 2018 mission was about to be completed. I was excited, proud, sad, and relieved all at once.

I planned to leave my dog Mack in the truck and have him guard it while I completed the mission. I prepared the truck and myself to walk the flag. The only problem was that there was no clear path to hike up. After a short time of walking around looking for a trail I decided that I would have to drive, park, and walk the flag from the main parking area. I had to drive over the bridge, turn around and drive over it again to park. My biggest concern with this was that my dog would jump out of the convertible truck when I was on the bridge and he would be gone when I got back.

Once I found a spot to park I secured Mack and prepared to walk the flag. This part is actually the most emotional part. The time between parking and then walking the flag is euphoric. I had so many emotions at once. I was proud to have completed the grueling 5 day drive, relieved to have arrived despite mechanical issues, honored to sacrifice for the Fallen 5,  and sad to be alone on the bridge this year. Finding and choosing a co-pilot is tough, but I also wanted to make this year’s trip alone after my son said he couldn’t come this year. Another thing I needed complete this year’s mission was a volunteer to help me fold the flag. I realized how difficult this may be after hanging the flag. Last year we were on the bridge on September 11th which was really special.

Alone and walking I cried thinking about the loss of the Fallen 5. They were no longer here because of some cowardly “terrorist” attack. One individual caused so much pain and loss, my hope is that my actions combined with others, can overpower this evil act with love and unity. “Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that”. – Dr. Martin Luther King.

 

 

The American flag represents our unity, our heritage, and remembrance for those who have sacrificed to keep this country free by protecting the Constitution and our Bill of Rights. Our freedoms, liberties, and general pursuits to happiness are under extreme attack today. There are those in government who believe the people shall be controlled and subject to governed rule, and then there are those who believe in shared ideals and common bond of love and happiness. The purpose of government is to guarantee and protect inalienable rights for all Americans to pursue happiness. Today it seems as though you are only allowed to be happy if you follow all the laws, regulations, pay all the taxes, don’t cause a problem, and simply go along with everyone else. This is not the American way.

When I fly that flag off the bridge I salute it, hold and feel the moment as the rush of all the busy noises of cars, bikers, walkers, wind, and chaos wash away into a complete silence and for those few moments I feel good – completely solid. In those moments I feel everything coursing through my body. I remember all the war documentaries I have studied, the number men and women who sailed under that bridge and never came home to protect our freedoms. I remember the Fallen 5 and why I am doing this mission. I remember my own sacrifices in the military and my grandfathers before me. I remember my sacrifices all year to make this moment happen. Most important to me I remember my sons who are looking to me for protection and guidance. I am doing for others, what I would have wanted done for me. It is as simple this; we all have a common bond as humans – we were created perfectly by God to do good works for others and to love others just as Jesus loved us. God sent his only son to die on the cross to pay for all of our sins saving us from evil. With God all things are possible and when I run out of 5 physical fuels I run on a sixth fuel – it is God’s love and the American spirit of unity we all share.

My goal is to inspire others to pursue their dreams of happiness by making technology work for us to live better, more free lives. Combining this with love for mankind and respect for one another we can make huge strides in making this world a better place. I want to turn this tragedy into a triumph and I am doing that each year with every mile I drive. All the times I stop and talk to people about the Fallen 5 and the truck – they are humbled and inspired, but they always remember the Fallen 5.

I want to thank all of my sponsors for making the 2018 Fallen 5 Drive a success!

Thank you to our sponsors and contributors for making this mission possible!

Mtn View Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Ringgold, GA

Grace Frank Group in Chattanooga, TN

Off-Grid Living & Design – Tiny Homes in Wildwood, GA

Joshua Kapellusch

Day 6, 2018

Day 5. Orem, Utah to Bonneville Salt Flats to San Francisco, CA. 774 miles

Once Mack and I got everything put away and ready for the day I went into Ready Gunner and just fell in love! I walked in and saw guns, a shooting range, and coffee… I’m not sure if I cried or not, probably had some lip quivering and watery eyes, but I felt so at home and American. I hung out and talked about guns and coffee for about 1 hour. This was so wonderful! We need more coffee / gun stores!

After having my first cup of Black Rifle Coffee Company coffee I knew this company was the real deal. I never support companies unless I believe in them. This company is amazing and has American values and ideals at the forefront of every action. I can always find ways to support these kinds of companies compared to the huge, main-stream anti-American companies operating all over this country.

Upon leaving Ready Gunner I set out to visit Black Rifle Coffee Company in Salt Lake City, UT. They are affiliated and work together as some of the owners are part of both companies. This combination of patriotism and quality products / services is top notch and should be looked at as way to do business in America moving forward. They have unity, a mission, and a purpose people can believe in as I do.

I met Jeff Kirkham and he graciously gave me a tour of the facility and several goodies! Everything at Black Rifle Coffee Company is done in-house and their coffee experts travel the world for the best coffee beans possible. They are such a great group of people creating the best coffee and camaraderie despite all the madness out in the world today. These people give me hope. They also gave me a ton of coffee! Throughout the trip I would be giving these bags away to special people as token of appreciation.

After my stop in Salt Lake City I needed to get on the road again making mileage. I mapped out the route which would take me to Interstate 80 heading west to San Francisco. This was the last day of the trip so I had to make it to the bridge. I had enough coffee at this point to stay up for 2 days!

Little did I know that I would be passing by BONNEVILLE! The Bonneville salt flats is where land speed records are set for vehicles. The salt is flat, long, and provides a perfect racing surface for race at high speeds. I just had to stop in and experience it myself! We turned and in just a few miles the Blazer of Glory was setting a new world speed record for the 5 fueled truck at a whopping 35 miles per hour. There was no sense in blasting the salt for speed since the blazer is computer controlled to 96 mph and the salt would eat away at the blazer anyway. Maybe next year I’ll prepare for speed week to see what we can stir up!

We drove all day and made our fuel stops as needed. The Rocky Mountains provide so much to look at. It was hot, dry, and largely uneventful. My next goal was to wake up and see the Golden Gate Bridge on the day we were to fly the flag. With the GPS set to San Francisco we pressed on and on. Finally at 11:58 pm we saw the bridge! After finding a parking spot right on the ocean, I shut the motor off and was calmed by the waves of the ocean. San Francisco is a cold, and windy city. Being right on the ocean with a cold Pacific breeze at night is something special. The fog was heavy and the bridge had a slightly cold and eerie presence with its yellow lights and red paint. The last thing to do was wake up the next day, walk the folded American flag to the center of the bridge, unfold it, and let it freely fly for the Fallen 5.

Thank you to our sponsors and contributors for making this mission possible!

Mtn View Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Ringgold, GA

Grace Frank Group in Chattanooga, TN

Off-Grid Living & Design – Tiny Homes in Wildwood, GA

Joshua Kapellusch

Day 5, 2018