A national organization that assists veterans has a presence in Starke County.
Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation is a non-profit organization out of North Carolina that sponsors a bowling team on Monday nights at Bowlaway Lanes in Knox. WKVI’s Anita Goodan happens to bowl on that team.
Brad Keselowski is a driver in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series for Penske Racing. A few years ago, Keselowski enlisted the help of Andrea Ross, who worked with the Navy Motorsports program and worked with Keselowski, and told her of his idea to start a foundation to support veterans. Ross, who is a former Public Affairs Officer in the United States Navy Reserve, helped get the program started and remains as the executive director of the organization
The Race to Recovery program is the foundation’s primary focus and Ross says it gives veterans a VIP experience at a NASCAR race track.
“We rent a suite so they sit up in the nice corporate suite for the weekend, we feed them and we take them on some behind the scenes VIP NASCAR events,” said Ross. “The day after race – we’ve built a two-seat NASCAR and Brad will then take them at speed around the racetrack and spend the day with them. It’s a lot of fun and something that’s been very positive for us.”
Ross commented that spending time with the heroes of our country always leaves her in awe.
“You just see how awesome their attitude is and their love for life. It really makes you walk away and just be really thankful – not only for what you have in life, but also thankful for those sacrifices that these folks are making.”
There are currently five Race to Recovery events held during a NASCAR season. Those events are at Richmond International Raceway, Talladega Super Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, and Michigan International Speedway. If funding allows, more events could be added to give more veterans an experience of a lifetime.
To learn more about the Checkered Flag Foundation, visit www.checkeredflagfoundation.org.
A full interview with Ross can be heard on the “Behind the Wheel” feature on our website at wkvi.com.