At Dragonfly Energy, community outreach near and far is very important to us. Our customers come from all walks of life across the country and we enjoy sharing their stories of how they get out there and stay out there! This Veteran’s Day, we’d like to thank Toby and his fellow veterans for their service in the armed forces.
Toby Prudhomme is part of Outdoor Adventures for True Heroes, or OATH Inc., a charity designed to help veterans get outdoors while promoting healthy outlets to express themselves after serving. Whether it’s fishing and hunting trips or time spent on a ranch, veterans can bond with others who had the same experiences in combat. OATH also has programs to help veterans receive therapy dogs, or care packages if they’re stationed overseas.
Toby grew up in Louisiana, joined the army right out of high school, and attended West Point after a year. Fortunate to be one of one hundred people selected from the army, Toby met the president of OATH, Gary Bartels Jr. during his time at West Point and the two have worked together since. During his time in the army, Toby was deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, and Bosnia.
As a member, Toby is beginning to help organize some of these excursions. His first trip was an antelope hunting trip to Cody, Wyoming, the first of its kind for the organization. He says when the trips are “done right”, the participants are meant to get away from the social crutch of technology and away from their phones. They provide lodging, supplies, and food, as the organization plans to make it an annual trip.
Across the country, OATH hosts events year-round. They choose participants based on a points system depending on how many previous charity events a veteran has attended, so those with lower points are preferred.
“The goal is to help connect people who have had similar experiences and maybe might be having similar challenges,” said Toby. “A lot of veterans might find it hard to relate to other people because it’s really hard to explain those experiences [of combat].”
As a 100 percent disabled veteran, he recently purchased an ORV 27 TRX to travel the country when he retired from the military in 2016 after 21 years of service. Currently, Toby owns his own business, a military-focused property management company, and has been busy managing six branches across the country.
“Helping people is something that I enjoy doing,” he said. “[OATH Inc.] provides me with the opportunity to do so.”
He worked to do the installation himself, a process he completed in about three and a half days! He documented the entire process in hopes that it will help others. One of the resources he used was an installation blog post from our friend and brand partner, Matt Knight of Adventurous Way. Toby also called our sales and tech team and worked with one of our specialists, Aaron, whenever he had questions.
“Aaron amazingly spent a few hours on the phone helping me understand everything I needed to do to complete the installation and answering any questions I had in real-time,” he said.
“I took photos and wrote down information based on the things that I had questions about when starting,” Toby said. “There are some things that I want to be able to do on my own.” You can check out Toby’s complete installation guide here!
What’s in the system?
Here’s what Toby currently has in his toy hauler/travel trailer:
With the first annual hunting trip, Toby put his rig to the test! He spent four days driving from North Carolina and dry camped at Cracker Barrel restaurants along the way. During the trip, he and two other veterans stayed at the Cody Shooting complex for three days and relied on shore power.
“The first thing I noticed is when we took the camper out for a test run, the batteries discharged at 4 percent, and the alarms were going crazy,” he said. “If I did that with lead-acid, then it probably wouldn’t have even started.”
After a successful first outing, Toby is considering installing solar panels after the winter season. He is grateful the rig kept them warm when temperatures in Cody dropped to –9 degrees Fahrenheit!
“Using a product like lead-acid where you can only use about fifty percent of its capacity is mind-blowing. Why would you even think about putting a lead-acid battery on the trailer when lithium is an option?”
Check out OATH Inc. and all the ways that you can get involved at their website here.