[media-credit name=”Gary Buchanan” align=”alignright” width=”210″][/media-credit]While Kurt Busch may have had a rough time at Michigan International Speedway last weekend, the driver of the No. 51 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet knows that a bad race does not compare to some of the hardships endured by those serving our country and their families.
Because of that commitment, Kurt Busch is continuing his campaign to help the military and their family members through his partnership with the Armed Forces Foundation, this time with a new fundraising raffle.
“With the purchase of a $10 raffle ticket, you and three of your buddies could win a trip to Chicagoland Speedway for the September 15th and 16th race weekend,” Busch said. “Whether you’re a race fan or not, this weekend will be an experience that you will never forget.”
“You are going to get a weekend in a luxury coach, complete with food, beverages and entertainment – nothing is spared and this trip has you covered from the moment you arrive until you leave,” Busch continued.
“If you’re not from Chicago, it’s not a problem,” Busch said. “The AFF will provide you with Southwest Airline tickets to get to Chicago.”
“It really is a unique way to experience a race weekend.”
The raffle is being done in partnership with Star Coach Race Tours and includes infield tickets to all Chicagoland races (Cup and Nationwide), food, luxury accommodations and a meet and greet with Kurt Busch.
The best part, according to Busch is that all of the proceeds benefit the Armed Forces Foundation (AFF), a charity near and dear to his heart. AFF is a nonprofit organization offering vital assistance to active-duty and retired personnel, National Guard, Reserve and military families.
One of the families that has been helped by AFF was Dina Gittings, mother of US Army Reserve SGT Anatoly Ulentsov, who was critically injured while in service.
“As many other civilians I have learned about the US Armed Forces Foundation (AFF) in the very traumatic times of a personal tragedy,” Ms. Gittings said. “On March 31st, I arrived from New York City to Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) on short notice to attend to my only son who had been critically injured.”
“On my arrival, I knew no one in my son’s unit and was absolutely unaware about support organizations which could provide any help until I was directed to the AFF by one of my son’s superiors at the unit,” Gittings continued.
“During my 12-day stay by my son’s side until he had finally succumbed to his injury and AFF helped me financially by taken the burden of an expensive air fare and the funeral arrangements which otherwise would be very difficult for me to afford,” Gittings said. “AFF made the best possible efforts to help me in the times of tragedy and need and did it with much dignity and love.”
AFF also provides financial assistance to military families in need and the charity raffle will benefit this program area as well.
An example of a family that was helped through the financial assistance program was the Bayley family, who simply needed a little extra to meet their car payment at a most traumatic time in their lives.
“We have experienced what we believe was the worst year of our lives,” Mrs. Bayley said. “My 26 year old son suffered a spinal cord injury while in service, is now a quadriplegic, and will be so the rest of his life and we also had to deal with 9 year old daughter’s brain tumor.”
“We depleted our savings and had to seek financial assistance,” Bayley continued. “The break from our car payments, which were a month behind, was wonderful.”
One final AFF program that will benefit from this raffle is the ‘Troops to the Track Program.’ This special opportunity is provided for troops to attend race weekend events and to interact with NASCAR drivers, such as Busch and his fellow competitors.
Recently, SGT Stephen Wayne Jackel, Jr., US Army Combat Engineer, participated in a ‘Troops to the Track’ event.
“This was a trip to remember,” Jackel said. “I met several individuals who changed my life for the better.”
“From Kurt Busch to all of the drivers of NASCAR that gave us wounded warriors a standing ovation, they have given me the confidence to overcome the adversities I faced after being hit by an Improvised Explosive Device in Afghanistan.”
“AFF has touched so many lives through their dedication to mend our wounds,” Jackel continued. “They have a special place in my heart.”
To help AFF and its many programs for those who serve and to participate in the AFF Chicagoland raffle, visit http://charitysplits.info/aaf/. The raffle closes after the Bristol race this weekend.