Charity Corner · Beth Lunkenheimer · Thursday July 12, 2012
Americans love their military heroes and appreciate their sacrifices as they allow us to maintain the freedoms that so many people take for granted each day, and NASCAR fans are no different. Now, you’ve got a chance to go ahead and honor a wounded soldier in a very special way via the NAPA Fallen Heroes Program.
NAPA Auto Parts and the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund have teamed up to send two service men and women to the first race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup at Chicagoland Speedway in September. The winners will serve as honorary pit crew members and enjoy all kinds of perks included in their weekend including a meet and greet with Martin Truex, Jr. Additionally, they’ll receive VIP accommodations, a tour of the pit area and track, an official pit crew shirt and their names on the No. 56 NAPA Toyota for the GEICO 400.
“It is NAPA’s honor and privilege to align ourselves with the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund to commemorate our great nation and those who fight for our freedom,” Tim Scanlan, General Manager of the NAPA Chicago Distribution Center said. “After all the sacrifices they’ve made in service to our country, this unique NASCAR experience is NAPA’s way of saying ‘thank you.’”
The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund is a continuation of the effort begun by Intrepid Foundation founders Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher in 1982. For 17 years, the Fishers personally made up to $25,000 worth of contributions to families of military personnel who passed away in the line of duty until Zachary passed away in 1999. Following his passing, nephews Arnold, Richard L. and Tony personally funded the Intrepid Foundation until establishing the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund in 2000.
According to their mission statement, The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund “serves United States military personnel wounded in service to our nation, and their families.” To date, the fund has provided nearly $120 million to the families of military personnel lost or severely wounded thorough donations from the public.
In January, 2007, the Center for the Intrepid, a $55 million physical rehabilitation center at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas opened to service those that were disabled while fighting for their country. The 60,000 square foot facility uses physical rehabilitation equipment and features indoor and outdoor facilities that assist in helping soldiers resume some sense of normalcy in their everyday lives.
But it doesn’t end there. After the Center for the Intrepid opened, the focus turned to traumatic brain injuries, and the National Intrepid Center of Excellence was constructed. A 72,000 square-foot, two story facility on the Navy campus in Bethesda, Maryland sits adjacent to the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and “provides the most advanced services for advanced diagnostics, initial treatment plan and family education, introduction to therapeutic modalities, referral and reintegration support for military personnel and veterans with TBI and post traumatic stress.” Additionally, the center also assists with brain injury research while testing new therapies as they become available.
“We greatly appreciate the support of NAPA Auto Parts and Michael Waltrip Racing to honor our American heroes in uniform,” said David Winters, President of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. “NASCAR is uniquely American and we’re proud to collaborate in this unique opportunity.”
To nominate a hero, simply click here and submit the required information including the nominee’s service history and a story about their passion for NASCAR and why they deserve the VIP treatment at the track by July 31st. The two winners will be able to take a guest on their adventure as well.
In addition to the program to send two wounded soldiers to the race, NAPA has also teamed up with the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, inviting customers to “Get Back and Give Back.” Throughout the month of July, customers will receive a $25 mail-in rebate for every battery, alternator, or starter they purchase with the option to donate that rebate to IFHF. Additionally, NAPA will donate $1 to the IFHF for each redeemed rebate.
“NAPA is proud to support the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and the important work that they do for the incredible men and women of the Armed forces and their families,” Gaylord Spencer, Vice President of Marketing Strategy for NAPA Auto Parts said. “As Americans across the country hit the road this July to visit their friends and loved ones, we encourage them to remember our troops, honoring and supporting them in whatever way they can.”
Author’s Note: For more on the two heroes who are chosen, keep an eye out for another edition of Charity Corner coming in September before the Chicagoland race.
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