With our journey to Kuwait for the “ HEMI For Heroes” event at Base Camp Arifjan now in the rear-view mirror, we can now add a new chapter to the history books for team ARH. I thought I’d take a few minutes to summarize a bit about the event, the circumstances in the lead-up to our visit, and what followed afterward with some of our dear friends and customers from Kuwait.

It would be a gross understatement to say things were tense the few days prior to flying out to Kuwait. With the U.S. military actions taken in the region and not knowing what the open-ended response may be, our families here at home were not keen on us going anywhere. But with our PriuSRT8 already in Kuwait and on standby, plus the fact that our flight was not cancelled over the tensions in the region, my son Louie and I were on our way.

Flying in, it was business as usual. Everyone we knew was going through their day to day activities, but there definitely was a sense of concern. Kuwait borders both Iraq and Iran and because of that, Kuwaitis know first-hand how quickly things can turn for the worse.

We arrived Tuesday afternoon, January 7th, and it wasn’t but a few hours later that we got word of a retaliatory missile strike at a U.S. base in Iraq. With the event at Camp Arifjan just days away, it was alarmingly apparent that the HEMI For Heroes event, understandably so, was in jeopardy of being scrapped altogether.  I can’t say that either Lou or I ever felt a deep concern for our safety while moving about the country, and everything just seemed relaxed amongst the locals. Admittedly, that wasn’t the case for our pre-visit to the base, where security was at its highest. There was definitely an uneasiness in the back of our minds, fueled mostly by news reports and family concerns back at home. This was without question uncharted territory for both of us, and it also put into perspective what many of our service members, and undoubtedly their families at home, have to live with when stationed in far more hostile parts of the world. 

After meeting with event organizers on Thursday morning, January 9th, it was made clear to us that the event was “not” set in stone, and if it were to take place on the 12th, safety concerns would more than likely limit the activities of the day, which was fine by us. The fact that these outstanding people would even entertain meeting with us under those circumstances, not to mention their behind- the-scenes efforts put forth to make this event a reality, just overwhelmed me with emotion. I was deeply humbled by an unabashed sense of pride, meeting with these patriots who work tirelessly to organize events that bring joy to our troops so far away from home, and at times, in harm’s way.

Well as we all know, by the grace of God, the HEMI For Heroes event came to fruition, albeit with a safety-first approach, which we were grateful for. The cookout and the planned contests were cancelled as a result, but that’s ok- the magnitude of the entire experience was far more important. In our lifetime, and that of my family and the entire American Racing Headers team, there’s a deep sense of pride for our great country and those that serve to protect us. Absolutely nothing can ever come close to being on that base, on that day, and doing our smallest of parts to help bring joy to our beloved service members. For those that attended, a little Hellcat Powered Ordnance disguised as a Prius did the trick!

Written by: Nick Filippides (Owner/Operator of American Racing Headers)

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