May 31, 2005
One of NASCAR’s favorite charities that most of its drivers are involved in is the “Victory Junction Gang.” This charity is one in the network of Paul Newman’s Hole In The Wall Gang Camps. But the Victory Junction Gang was really started by Kyle and Pattie Petty in honor of their son, Adam, who died in May 2000 during a practice for a NASCAR Busch Grand National Series race in Loudon, New Hampshire.
The purpose of this camp is to give children with life threatening diseases a chance to be kids again and to forget for a small moment in their lives that they are sick and to be just what every other person their age is, a kid.
NASCAR, has inspired some of the sport’s greatest drivers to get involved with this charity and here are just a few of the names that are involved in this charity: Jeff Gordon; Tony Stewart; Dale Jr. and Kerry Earnhardt; Bill Elliot; Matt Kenseth; Mark Martin; Ryan Newman; Sterling Marlin; Kenny, Mike and Rusty Wallace; Kurt Busch; Bret and Todd Bodine; Jimmie Johnson; Kevin Harvick; Terry and Bobby Labonte and a whole list of other drivers. To those men that have donated time and money to this cause, I applaud you because I myself have donated to this charity and to this cause, being the mother of a disabled child myself.
Jeff Gordon established the Jeff Gordon Foundation in December of 1999 to help support the physical, social or intellectual needs of children and their families throughout the United States. Money raised is distributed among several non-profit organizations including the Make-A-Wish Foundation, The Marrow Foundation, Hendrick Marrow Program, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and the Riley Hospital for Children located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Fund raising events such as bowling contests, go-kart challenges, dinner auctions are held throughout the year.
The Tony Stewart Foundation is something he has wanted to do for quite a while. Over the years, he has donated funding to numerous non-profit organizations primarily supporting chronically ill children and individuals injured in motor sports activities. However, he has never focused on creating an ongoing charitable campaign that was sustained year-round. With the formation of the Tony Stewart Foundation, community efforts will continue to expand by giving and fundraising programs will grow substantially.
The Dale Earnhardt Foundaton was founded by Teresa Earnhardt in December 2002, with the mission of carrying on Dale's name and good works through charitable causes he supported during his lifetime. This non-profit 501-C-3 Foundation will support numerous programs which focus on issues which were always near to Dale's heart; children, education and wildlife preservation.
The Dale Earnhardt Foundation will be funded through a variety of different channels. First, and foremost, the Foundation will receive funds from individual and corporate donors in the form of annual fundraising drives and major gift donations. Secondly, the Foundation will continue to host fundraising events such as The Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert and Dale Earnhardt Day.
Joe Gibbs, Owner of Joe Gibbs Racing has his charities as well. His charities include: Motor Racing Outreach; Carolina Sports Outreach; Christian Family Life; MRO Fans Outreach; Youth For Tomorrow; Young Life; and Campus Crusade For Christ.
So you see, by these few examples, the Drivers care not only for their adult fans, but for their adolescent fans as well and they put back into their communities and try to make the world that they occupy off the track a better place not only for themselves, but for those that need the help that surround them on a daily basis.
My Tony Stewart hat goes off to you boys, may you never stop caring about the ones that truly need you.
About the author: Kaycee Nilson has completed her first novel, "Night Falls on Chicago." The first two chapters can be viewed at http://www.KayceeNilson.com.
Besides writing columns for Useless-Knowledge, Kaycee is currently working on two more novels, "From the Mind of a Vampire", and "I'll Love You Til You Die."
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