NASCAR makes a pit stop in PG
By Caitlin Davis, Senior Staff Writer
Sep 11, 2013, 12:20
CAITLIN DAVIS/HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT Ryan Mosher with NASCAR signs a bag for Kendra Peterson, 4, at an event in Prince George on Saturday.
PRINCE GEORGE — On Saturday morning, children young and old lined Wood Duck Street to meet representatives from NASCAR and to get a new bag for school, as well as other gifts. With moments to go until NASCAR drove up, excitement filled every corner of the street as racing fans sported their favorite driver’s number on their T-shirts and hats.
In addition to the residents, representatives from the county, including Commonwealth’s Attorney Jay C. Paul and Sgt. Earl Crawford, were on hand to welcome NASCAR to Prince George. Once the car pulled up and the representatives got out, applause rang out.
The event was made possible by Kathy Martin, former neighborhood watch coordinator and now special events coordinator for Country Aire neighborhood watch. It began with a link sent to her through Facebook; the link was for a form to fill out for free bags that were being handed out by NASCAR. Instead of filling out the form, Martin called and with a few emails and a couple months, NASCAR not only agreed to the free bags but offered to have representatives from NASCAR personally deliver them to the children of Country Aire, a neighborhood located between Hopewell and Petersburg.
Once the table was filled with NASCAR bags and flags, the children eagerly lined up to grab the number of their favorite driver. Though Tyler Mayes, 12, had few words to say, he had a hard time hiding the smile on his face as he held his new bag close to his chest.
Ryan Mosher, with Stoneacre, explained that he, along with his co-workers, Anthony Magazu and David Scism, are part of the NASCAR VIP team. They are in charge of giving garage tours and coordinating meetings with drivers for photos and autographs. Another part of their job, Mosher explained, was to reach out the local communities when NASCAR races are in town.
“We get to come out with NASCAR and hang out with fine people such as yourselves,” Mosher said moments before the bags were handed out. “Obviously this is a huge honor for us to come down here.”
Scism added that while the races are always enjoyable, their favorite part of their job is to spend time in communities all across the country.
“This is our favorite part, to do what we do and see all of the people that enjoy the sport just like we do,” Scism said. He added that coming to events such as the one in Prince George, reminded him that it is important to try and help children at a young age, as soon as possible.
Kids lined up to get bags of school supplies and other gifts.
“We’ve been to school and seen people who needed things to get through,” Scism said. “We can start young and help them get in the right direction earlier than later.”
NASCAR not only has a national headquarters, but local offices throughout the country, Mosher explained. Those offices look for communities and people to reach out to during the year. Mosher said the offices look for people who are passionate about their cause, which all agreed that Martin wore all over her face.
“We do 20 of the 36 races a year and Richmond is on our list,” Mosher said. “When we’re at these races we try to find some way that we can give back to the community. One of our local chapter advisors reached out to Kathy and thought this would be a great fit for us.”
As Mosher watched the children walk around, showing off their new gifts, he said he was great to be able to come out to Prince George and meet all the children as well as the residents of the neighborhood.
“We go to tracks, we see a million garages but we want to come out here and help different organizations and charities like this,” Mosher said.
Courtney Timperio, with Company 5 Fire and EMS in Prince George as well as current neighborhood watch coordinator, said not only was NASCAR a big part of the community, she hoped the event would inspire some of the children that morning.
“I feel like if these little kids see something that somebody else is doing, like a role model like they are, it will keep them interested in something, keep them away from crime like we’re working so hard to do and get them to work for a goal,” Timperio said.
Martin stood back as the children walked around with their new gear and could not stop the tears from flowing from her eyes. During their National Night Out event, school supplies were handed out, however there was a short supply of backpacks. Martin said she had to beg for bags for the children and she was beyond happy that “her children” have been able to get this experience, as well the bags that were so needed.
CAITLIN DAVID/HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT Kathy Martin gives Ryan Mosher, with NASCAR, a big hug after they presented her with a gift.
“It makes you want to cry to see them excited and just the joy on their face,” Martin said. “A lot of these kids would not have had NASCAR stuff like that, that belongs to them and not their parents.”
The day was also an early birthday present for Martin, whose birthday falls on Sept. 11. Though Martin did not mother all 81 children in the neighborhood, she said she loves them just the same.
“I don’t think you can explain the joy in my heart,” Martin said. “I just don’t think there’s words.”