*See more images of the truck in the clickable photo gallery below.
Jisco Truck and Off-Road in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania is not your typical off-road and fleet shop. It’s owned and operated by U.S. war veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and is dedicated to ensuring other vets aren’t left out of all the automotive aftermarket fun.
U.S. veterans across the Tri-State area—including Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and northern Delaware—have recently been introduced to Valor, a 2014 Ram 2500 project truck built by Jisco Truck and Off-Road to pay special tribute to the late U.S. Navel Seal Chris Kyle, the subject of last year’s hit film, American Sniper, directed by Clint Eastwood.
The truck has been making its rounds at VA hospitals and Fallen Warrior runs and challenges since June.
“We originally wanted to build a SEMA project truck, but instead of just bringing it to the show, taking some pictures, and having it auctioned off like a lot of the other projects, we wanted to bring it to veteran events, because those guys rarely get to see anything like this,” said Justin Houk, the owner and founder of Jisco Truck and Off-Road, who served as an Army Infantry Soldier from 1996 to 2005.
Houk uses the Valor project to raise awareness and money for the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation. The foundation, according to its website, is aimed to provide meaningful, interactive experiences to service members, first responders and their families.
“We wanted to pick a foundation that was true to the veteran,” Houk said. “We picked the Frog Foundation because it’s all about the family and not just the warrior. It’s about enriching the family and bringing them together.”
The Valor project was launched in December and finished just in time to attend the June 12-14 Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival in Butler, Pennsylvania.
“We finished wrapping the graphics on it at 3 a.m. and took it to the festival just seven hours later,” Houk said. “It was a huge hit because there are so many people out there that are all about the veterans and wanting to help the Frog Foundation. It wasn’t a Jeep, but the people in Butler didn’t mind at all.”
The Valor truck will continue its event tour until Sept. 26, when it will reclaim its spot back in the garage for a few interior upgrades.
“We need to upgrade the audio system and I’d like to put in some tactical seats,” Houk said. “I’d also like to include a flat screen TV in the bed, and add an actuator and some boat speakers. We could maybe play American Sniper or a Frog foundation video at events.”
Houk is hoping to team up with a few additional product suppliers interested in sponsoring the interior upgrades.
“We’re proud to be veteran-owned and operated,” Houk said. “The sponsors we have so far are incredible and have jumped at the opportunity to help this great cause.”
Houk started the Jisco Truck and Off-Road shop as a one-man outfit, selling tonneau covers in 2005 after his final deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. The company expanded into truck and Jeep customization, and then the fleet market came calling.
“We worked on police cars and fire trucks already but started getting approached by oil and gas and construction companies who wanted everything from tires, all the way up to full builds,” Houk said. “Last year was really good because the oil and gas industry was booming. But, we also do a good amount of snowplows and tool boxes.”
Business was already growing at a decent clip before Valor was introduced, but now the shop’s consumer awareness has greatly increased.
“People didn’t really know who we were,” Houk said. “It’s hard to compete with the internet and we don’t try. We’re still just a mom and pop showroom—I still want the face to face interaction with our customers.”
Valor and its Sponsors
The Valor project truck was made possible by the following sponsors and products:
- Innovative Creations Inc. (ICI)—Front and rear Magnum bumpers, RT Steps.
- Raptor Series—Wheels
- Atturo Tires
- TrailFX—LED light bars and cubes, winch.
- Superlift—4” Radius Arm lift kit.
- Bushwacker—Fender flares.
- Wrap designed by Houk and printed by New Age Graphics.
Houk is still searching for a booth to host Valor at this year’s SEMA Show. For inquiries, contact Jisco Off-Road at 724-794-4121.