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Land Rover Knoxville presents Defender 130 SUV to Appalachian Bear Rescue

February 22, 2023

Appalachian Bear Rescue, which rehabilitates black bears across the region that have been orphaned, abandoned or injured, now has a new Defender 130 SUV to aid its efforts thanks to Land Rover and Land Rover Knoxville.

Land Rover Knoxville, which is part of Furrow Automotive Group, also announced a long-term partnership with Appalachian Bear Rescue (ABR) to sponsor its membership education series, which explains the rescue and rehabilitation process, how bears get injured or abandoned, and how to be bear aware and take steps to avoid or mitigate any human interaction.

Representatives of Land Rover, Land Rover Knoxville and Appalachian Bear Rescue (ABR) participate in the presentation of a Defender 130 SUV to ABR.

“The work that Appalachian Bear Rescue does to save cubs and yearlings and educate the community is tremendous and much-needed, as black bears are a treasure in our region and part of the fabric of East Tennessee and the Smoky Mountains,” Furrow Automotive President Lee Ann Furrow Tolsma said. “We are so proud to be able to present the Defender 130 SUV and sponsor a program that will further education to help us all become better stewards of our natural surroundings.”

Land Rover launched the Defender Service Awards in 2021 to celebrate U.S. and Canadian-based nonprofits that make a positive impact in the local community. During the 2022 contest, Appalachian Bear Rescue earned top non-profit status in the animal welfare category from more than 2,150 nominations and submissions across the country.

The organization also received $25,000 from category sponsor KONG, a maker of high-quality and rugged pet toys, to honor ABR’s selection and $5,000 from presenting sponsor Chase Bank.

“We are grateful to Land Rover, Chase and KONG for this incredible vehicle and the monetary awards associated with the Defender Service Awards,” said Dana Dodd, executive director for Appalachian Bear Rescue. “The award will allow us to promote our mission and give us access to the places we have to go to return injured and orphaned bears to the wild.”

As the Land Rover dealer in Knoxville, Furrow Automotive Group was chosen for the official presentation of the SUV. As part of the new sponsorship, the dealership on Parkside Drive also will provide complimentary service of the vehicle for Appalachian Bear Rescue.

A stuffed bear sits in the Defender 130 SUV.

“It is an honor to hand over fully customized Defender 130 vehicles to the deserving winners of the Land Rover ‘Defender Service Awards’ presented by Chase,” said Joe Eberhardt, president and CEO, Jaguar Land Rover North America. “The winner organizations’ dedication to giving back is an inspiration and exemplifies the can-do spirit of the Land Rover brand. We look forward to seeing how the fully outfitted Defender 130 vehicles further their efforts and we commend their service to their communities.”

Appalachian Bear Rescue rehabilitates the cubs and yearlings and, once healthy and able to live on their own, returns the bears to their natural habitat. The donated vehicle will help tow and transport food, supplies and equipment, as well as reach vulnerable cubs, who often are found in off-road areas.

Furrow Automotive Group has been operating in East Tennessee for more than 107 years. Company leaders and employees are dedicated to bettering the lives of residents and the region as a whole, resulting in numerous contributions, including those to Appalachian Bear Rescue and other non-profit organizations.

About Furrow Automotive

Furrow Automotive is the parent company of Knoxville Motor Company, Knoxville Motor Company BodyWerks, Mercedes Benz of Knoxville, Sprinter Knoxville, Land Rover Knoxville and the Chattanooga Auto Square. Known for excellence in customer service and dedication to the community, Knoxville Motor Company’s award-winning locations have proudly served Knoxville for over 107 years. Mercedes Benz of Knoxville is the J.D. Power Dealer of Excellence Award winner for the third year in a row and a MBUSA Best of the Best Award winner.