NASCARâs youngest duo, 19-year-old driver Colin Garrett and 26-year-old owner Sam Hunt are dedicated to combating the epidemic of veteran suicide, promoting the free services of nonprofit Racing For Heroes to help spread awareness to those in need of mental and physical health services for traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress.Â Â
The crowdfunded âOur American Dream Teamâ also recently announced that they have exceeded their $200 ,000 goal to fund the Xfinity teamâs run at Daytona on Feb. 16 and were able to set aside enough to pay for a veteranâs stem cell treatments
âThis is the first time Iâve ever seen a team use crowdfunding successfully to race, and this team is doing it to promote causes important to veterans and military families,â saidÂ
Racing For Heroes founder, retired Army Special Forces veteran Mike Evock. âBeing able to pay for a veteranâs stem cell treatments out of the very first phase of crowdfunding is huge.â
Both of Garrettâs brothers are in the Army, with one currently deployed to Korea, and one of Huntâs best friends is a Navy Seal.
âAfter promoting Racing For Heroes pro bono throughout the 2019 season, we decided we wanted to expand that effort in 2020,â he explained. âWeâve added nonprofit The Rosie Network and Veteran Business Project to the team this year, and our goal is for each crowdfunded race to not only promote the nonprofits but to also help fund their programs.â
Crowdfunding allows the team to promote the nonprofits rather than traditional corporate sponsors.
Stephanie Brown, the founder of The Rosie Network, is the wife of a retired Navy SEAL. Her group provides no-cost entrepreneurial training to veterans and military spouses.
âWeâve developed a program with Colin and Sam to promote military family-owned small businesses who contribute as little as $10 to the crowdfunding campaign,â said Brown. âThe businesses also get a badge to use in their marketing that designates them as a Veteran Business Advocate of Our American Dream Team. The Rosie Networkâs role in the prevention of suicide is to help military families live the American Dream theyâve given so much to protect.â
Â âBeing able to race at Daytona is what we all dream about, and getting to do it with a purpose much larger than NASCAR is really special,” he said.
Reach Julia LeDoux: Julia@connectingvets.com
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