Wood Brothers Racing is First-Quarter NMPA Pocono Spirit Award Winner

May 27, 2020
Matt DiBenedetto races at Darlington Raceway.
Photo courtesy of Nigel Kinrade Photography

DARLINGTON, S.C.—The Wood Brothers Racing organization is the winner of the first-quarter NMPA Pocono Spirit Award, selected by vote of the NMPA membership for its charitable work on behalf of quarantined seniors at the Landmark Center and the Blue Ridge Therapy Center in Stuart, Va., the racing team’s home town, as well as 10 other facilities in the region.

Wood Brothers Racing launched a campaign to provide seniors in nursing homes and assisted living facilities with tablets that enabled them to communicate with family members during the isolation imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The effort encompassed 10 other facilities within the region, as Wood Brothers Racing fielded requests for tablets.

From seed money of $1,500, the crowdfunding campaign grew dramatically, with $33,000 raised from contributions of $10 or more. The donations allowed the Wood Brothers to order 220 tablets to benefit residents in the 12 facilities.

“We were shocked at the response we got,” said Jon Wood, senior vice president of Wood Brothers Racing. “I think everyone has some connection with a senior and many of those are in facilities that are affected. What we didn’t anticipate was the huge number of people wanting to contribute, and it just shows that we aren’t all that divided in a time of crisis.

“It was extremely gratifying to hear the stories since, how this helped ease some of the anxiety and stress from both the residents and the families. These people did nothing wrong. They managed to do something right in fact, that being to live to an age where they needed help, and so it seemed unfair for them to be cut off from the very people that give them comfort.

“Unfair because they were being protected from something many of them didn’t understand or weren’t able to fully grasp and the way they were going about being protected only added to their fears and frustrations. This just helped alleviate some of that, so in every way I can think of, it was a total success.”

Also receiving votes were the Joey Logano Foundation, which teamed with Bobbee O’s BBQ and Elevation Church to provide free meals to children under 18 years old over a two-week period; Steve Myers, executive vice president and executive producer of iRacing, for spearheading an effort to bring virtual racing competition to a national audience during the pandemic; and General Motors, which ramped up its assembly lines to produce personal protective gear for front-line workers and ventilators for patients in critical need during the pandemic.

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