RALEIGH, N.C. -- Operation Motorsport empowers disabled veterans through their post-service lives by welcoming them onto racing teams to drive cars and work on pit crews.
We talk with Army veterans DeWayne Crawford, Renee Wilson and Hairam Rivera about their service experience and how Operation Motorsport is helping them.
CLICK the image (at right) to watch the interview
Every position, vital. Everyone serves a purpose.
Beneficiaries learn they hold power to their future; Operation Motorsport offers the alternator.
Operation Motorsport Joins Forces with Motorsport Teams at the Michelin GT Challenge at VIRginia International Raceway
Alton, VA. (Aug 23, 2018) - Operation Motorsport, a non-profit organization that provides recovery, retraining and rehabilitation opportunities to injured service members and disabled veterans through motorsports. Operation Motorsport invited ten Soldiers to the Michelin GT Challenge at VIRginia International Raceway with the intent to; EXCITE, ENGAGE, EMPOWER.
CEO, Diezel Lodder, and Executive Director Tiffany Lodder started the motorsport weekend on Aug. 15, with a briefing at the Fort Bragg Warrior Transition Battalion. There they spoke to six on-coming beneficiaries one a veteran and the other five U.S. Army service members assigned to the WTB. During the brief old-timer beneficiary retired Chief Warrant Officer 3 Dewayne Crawford who has been with OpMo since 2017 and traveled to Anglesey, Wales for the Race of Remembrance; spoke from honesty that not only is this a chance to help them recover but a chance to rewrite their future. “When you’re out there your writing your resume because these guys are watching. I speak from my own experience, get involved, have fun meet new people, and have an open mind,” said Crawford. Crawford emphasized to the group about taking full advantage of the weekend, “You’ll probably experience and see things you’ve never seen in your life and have your battle buddy sitting next to you, I highly recommend you get involved it makes the process more comfortable, it is your transition, make it count.
Tiffany speaks with a loving, caring, heartfelt yet candid voice when talking to troops about what they may encounter at the raceway this weekend., “Understand these are professional race teams, in big competitions this weekend. So, they are there to win; they have a purpose, they won’t hold your hands, they aren’t there to make sure you are okay, they may ask you, I’ll ask if you are okay, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, said Lodder. “You’ll probably be given the smallest task, same as when you were a private, sweeping the garage is important, cleaning out the tires is very important, polishing the car is very important, every job has a purpose. The tires cannot be returned to Michelin or Continental until they’re cleaned, so if they tell you ‘I need you to clean inside that tire,’ know it is an important job.” With that the briefing end with discussing the timeline for the weekend.
Thursday the beneficiaries met their teams, Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 team, KohR Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4, MINI JCW Team, and the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Hospitality Lounge. Yes, not all of the soldiers were in the pits and paddocks getting dirty. Sgt. Maj. Wayne Davidson, also an enlisted member at the WTB had the pleasure of greeting distinct spectators at the lush Lambo Lounge. There is a saying some veterans have heard throughout their days in service that goes, ‘The leaders take care of the soldiers, but who takes care of the leaders.’ In this instance Operation Motorsports steps in and brings two together, “It was a very eye-opening experience where senior enlisted and junior enlisted worked together as a team to accomplish the mission and in a relaxing environment. I would love to work with operation motorsports again.
Operation Motorsports does more than bring these veterans and Soldiers to motorsport events across the globe; they help push them toward a goal. Whether that goal is in motorsports, car enthusiast, engineering, returning to active service, journalism, social media management, or just healing one’s mind and body. They bring a closeness that is gone when you leave the service, leave your battle buddies, leave your structure, leave a daily purpose. They give you that power back, remind you that you have the strength to continue to grow as that strength never went away, it was just hiding.
24 HOUR OPERATION MOTORSPORT TEAM DENIED SILVERWARE AT VIR, BUT A TEAM OF WOUNDED MILITARY MEMBERS L
Operation Motorsport team races in the Lifeline 24hr at VIR with support from Mazda
Operation Motorsport’s entry into the ‘Lifeline 24 hour Classic’ race run by the Champ Car Endurance Series was made possible with the kind support of Mazda Racing. The Mazda Global MX-5 Cup race car, fielded by McCumbee McAleer Racing was adapted to sequential shift to enable Staff Sgt. (Ret.) Liam Dwyer to make his return to motorsport following major surgery in 2017. Liam has undergone osseointegration surgery which inserted a titanium rod into the bone in his stump to attach to his prosthetic left leg, and he was joined by 9 veterans and serving military members who filled roles on the Operation Motorsport team, and in the TWOth Autosport team two car sister entry alongside.
Cruel fate intervened after the team led the race outright for over 6 hours
A field of 100 cars began the race at Virginia International Raceway’s 3.27 mile full course and the Operation Motorsport car moved fast through the field with Liam at the helm to quickly establish a class lead. The driver line up included British Major (Ret.) James Cameron the CEO of Mission Motorsport, Tom Long the Mazda prototype and Le Mans star, and team boss and team principal Chad McCumbee. The Global MX-5 Cup car was leading the race outright by the time that night fell, running strongly through the dark hours, allowing Liam to chalk up more than five hours of hard racing on a challenging and exciting road circuit. The retirement of the car as the sun rose through mechanical failure of a component not shared by the spare car was a cruel blow – denying the team the trophy so richly deserved. The real goal, however had been emphatically achieved. Liam’s comeback was emphatic, and the 10 beneficiaries each took great strides in their personal recovery journeys. Bonds had been formed, confidence restored, networks extended, inspiration given. Things move fast. Two serving military members will return to VIR this weekend to take up their roles on IMSA professional teams.
Celebrating the Birthdays of Our Nations and Connecting
Injured Soldiers To Motorsports at Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen & Mobil 1 Sportscar Grand Prix
Brighton, ON. (June 27, 2018) – Operation Motorsport, a non-profit organization that provides recovery, retraining and rehabilitation opportunities to injured service members and veterans through motorsports, is partnering with IMSA race teams at both Watkins Glen International, NY and Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, ON, on the two weekends that bookend the 1st of July Canada & July 4th USA birthday holidays, providing opportunities to 11 medically releasing Canadian and US service members.
The 11 day two country / two race stretch marks a new milestone in the short but rich history of Operation Motorsport. It marks the pairing of the highest number of Excite "Motorsports Immersion" Program embedded beneficiaries, in a race event activation, with an all time high number of participating host teams; Action Express Racing, Bodymotion Motorsports, CJ Wilson Racing, Core Autosport, Land Motorsport, Paul Miller Racing, Park Place Motorsports and Winward Racing.
Teamwork and organization are concepts service members know better than most, and while the teams are providing a first opportunity for US Army SPC Alexander Herrera, SGT Timothy Bernard, SSG Andrew Ostman, SSG Len Salmi, from FT Drum, NY, and Cdn Cpl (Retired) Mark Spiteri, who are being embedded as crew members in top level race teams, working side by side with the other team members and gaining exposure to a new set of responsibilities, where they now hope to benefit from the skill sets that military training has provided.
"Today’s vets are unlike most vets from years past, each of them joined voluntarily. They made the decision to serve their country by their own accord and of their own free will. What we have asked of these young men and women is nothing less than we asked of the young men who stormed the beaches at Normandy. The risks are equally as great," says Paul Miller Racing Team Manager, Mitchell Simmons, "Many of these young men and women have witnessed or succumbed to horrors beyond our belief. As they rotate back to civilian life many find it difficult, mentally or physically, to readjust. Many have difficulty finding work or staying employed due to these issues. We believe there is no greater sacrifice than to serve ones country only to return to life worse than when they left. That’s why we support Operation Motorsport 100%. The focus on the well being of veterans and giving them the opportunity to get in a motorsports environment is a perfect transition from military structure to civilian structure. The teamwork they are accustomed to blends seamlessly into a race team environment. It’s simply a perfect fit for our team and Operation Motorsport."
Returning Operation Motorsport beneficiaries CW3 (Retired) DeWayne Crawford and 2Lt Theo Bruulsema have graduated to the "Engage" Program, having spent time with other teams and/or other race series, they both now have an opportunity to work towards becoming contributing members of the already established cohesive teams that they join. Crawford will be joining Action Express Racing where Director of Race Team Operations, Chris Mitchum said, “Watkins Glen is a special event on our calendar every year being aligned with the 4th of July because we always have a chance to honor our soldiers on Independence Day. Both the Mustang Sampling #5 and Whelen Engineering #31 Cadillac DPi.V-R’s will be carrying special liveries honoring our soldiers. They do so much for our way of life, and to work with Operation Motorsport is one more way to give back a little. We are looking forward to working with DeWayne this weekend and expect that we will be the ones learning, how lucky are we.” and in Bruulsema's case, he brings a university engineering degree to Core Autosport and some experience gained while with Pfaff Motorsports Porsche team in PWC.
In addition to their team responsibilities, beneficiaries will mix and mingle with fellow soldiers and racers at various social functions designed to foster new social interactions and networking opportunities. The program provides respite, recovery, and rehabilitation opportunities to some of those in need affected by military service. The organization endeavors to provide the guidance, environment and tools necessary to develop new skill sets where beneficiaries embark on their recovery.
“Having the opportunity to host a veteran at Park Place Motorsports is always an honor,” Lindsey said. “These brave men and women have served our country and given so much just so we have the opportunity to live our lives however we choose. That includes the choice to go racing. The least we can do is open our own teams up to them for a fun weekend. They get to be a part of our team and sometimes they even show us how to become a better team. There is a true give and take relationship. I hope we give Mark a fun memory and I know Mark will give us a great effort in return.”
After the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen, beneficiaries and their teams will prepare the race cars, pack up and move north to the the series only Canadian stop at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Bowmanville Ontario. This is a very unique opportunity for most of the beneficiaries as they get to experience two back to back race weekends with the same team but in different countries. Sound familiar? Well it does to the average soldier who has experienced packing up and moving over and over while on tour or exercises. This is part of the reason this works, along with a new team, a new identity and a new purpose.
Where we are today is not where I ever dreamed we would be….....," said Tiffany Lodder, Executive Director of Operation Motorsport, "In one year we’ve worked in seven series, activated at nine different tracks among 14 teams with 23 active beneficiaries of the Excite program and 12 waiting to participate. We delivered 164 recovery training days in our first year, culminating in (1) offer of employment, and (1) job placement for our beneficiaries! That is outstanding! I knew that motorsports could be restorative and used effectively as a recovery tool for our injured soldiers and wounded veterans, and I’ve been truly blessed this year to have met and worked alongside both our countries finest. It astounds me every time I think of how far DeWayne has come on his journey, and the incredible opportunities we’ve been able to help Theo participate in. As I look forward, I know that there are so many opportunities to continue to provide exposure, inclusion and acceptance as these beneficiary’s transition into the civilian world."
Operation Motorsport Anniversary Celebration "Where we thought we were going to be..............
Connecting Soldiers To Motorsports Recovery Opportunities
Wounded Service member Opportunities At Canadian Tire Motorsports Park
Bowmanville, ON. (17 May, 2018) – Operation Motorsport, a non-profit organization that provides recovery, retraining and rehabilitation opportunities to injured service members and veterans through motorsports, is partnering with Alegra Motorsports, CRP Racing, Pfaff Motorsports and TWOth Autosport at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park to provide opportunities to medically releasing Airman Theo Bruulsema and medically released veteran Soldiers Dale Newbury & Bill Carrette at the Castrol Presents the Victoria Day Speedfest Weekend.
This will be the first 2018 Excite Program activation for Operation Motorsport at the leading racing and automotive performance facility in Canada, (CTMP) during the traditional Victoria Day long weekend event. The Motorsports Immersion Program will provide respite, rehabilitation and recreational opportunities to some of those in need affected by military service. The organization endeavors to provide the guidance, environment and tools necessary to develop new skill sets where beneficiaries embark on their recovery.
As part of their new experience during the race weekend beneficiaries Bruulsema and Carrette are being embedded as crew members in Pirelli World Challenge top level race teams, Pfaff Motorsports, CRP Racing and working side by side with the other team members. Newbury will be the first veteran beneficiary to be embedded with TWOth Autosport, the organizations official Motorsports Operation partner, since the strategic partnership was announced earlier in the year. As part of its mission, Operation Motorsport finds meaningful positions for injured and disabled active service members and veterans inside motorsports to help them recuperate and use their military training in a new industry.
Teamwork and organization are concepts service members know better than most, and while the teams are providing Bruulsema, Abeling, Newbury and Carrette exposure to a new set of responsibilities, they hope to benefit from the skill sets that military training has provided. In addition to their team responsibilities, beneficiaries will mix and mingle with fellow soldiers and racers at various social functions designed to foster new social interactions and networking opportunities.
WHO WE ARE
Operation Motorsport provides respite, rehabilitation and recreational opportunities to those in need affected by military service. We endeavour to provide the guidance, environment and tools necessary to develop new skill sets where beneficiaries embark on their recovery.
Operation Motorsports- Notes of Beneficiary By Renee Wilson
Still reeling from the Pirelli World Challenge 27-29 April, slumber was my friend that week. When my alarm went off at 0400 May 5, I knew it was going to be another exciting weekend with Operation Motorsports. Fellow beneficiaries Dewayne, Hairam, Alex and I were all meeting at the Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Crash and Burn course. NaroEscape Motorsports President and Lead Program Manager, Nadine Saville joined us, as she and her husband Bob Saville, Owner/President of NaroEscape Motorsports made it possible for us veterans to attend.
Engage Program Introduces Beneficiary Training And Recovery Opportunities At Sebring Raceway
Operation Motorsport is partnering with Sebring International Raceway to provide opportunities to U.S. Army Warrant Officer 3 DeWayne Crawford and retired U.S. Marine Corp Staff Sgt. Jonathon Reid during the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Advance Auto Parts.
As part of their responsibilities during the famed race, Crawford, 43, and Reid, 29, are working with the Sebring marketing and hospitality staff to serve corporate guests. As part of its mission, Operation Motorsport introduces meaningful positions for injured and disabled active service members and veterans inside motorsports to help them recuperate and use their military training in a new industry.
Fabio Napoleoni’s new limited edition to benefit Operation Motorsport
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ORLANDO, FL – October 2, 2017 – Renowned artist Fabio Napoleoni announced today the official release of the new art piece “We Are One”. It’s been released in limited quantity, for purchase on Fabio’s’ website only. Fabio Napoleoni is an international artist who is known for his splendid colors and engaging characters in his art work. What the Heart wants and the Heart needs can be found in a Fabio Napoleoni painting. Nostalgia, sorrow and moments that lift the soul are all there for the world to see and experience along with him. The vivid colors and captivating characters invite you into an emotional ride that is welcomed by the mind and the Heart all created by Fabio Napoleoni.
Fabio Napoleoni’s art “We are One” celebrates the use of motorsport in recovery and the strength and common bond of our military’s. Created to signify the brotherhood of our Allied troops through the bonds created in times of conflict and war, and now through Motorsports, they will hold each other up and heal together as One.
There will be a limited run of Artist’s proofs (11) signifying Remembrance Day, November 11th, and SN’s (signed and numbered) 22 prints, signifying the number of soldiers / veterans who take their lives every day.
Proceeds from the sale of this limited edition will benefit Operation Motorsport. This organization helps provide relief to veterans who are ill, injured or wounded by using motorsports. They present these veterans with educational and industry opportunities to aid in their retraining, recovery and rehabilitation. Fabio is proud to support this worthy cause, and is excited for the official release of this art in support of Operation Motorsport and what they do to help deserving veterans.
About Artist Fabio Napoleoni: Fabio lives and works in Florida. His artwork is sold in galleries across North America, and loved by all those who connect with his heartfelt brush strokes and animations. He has been involved in the art world since he was a small child, but the passion in his art work comes through because of his own fatherhood anguishes of his daughter when she was first born, and the sickness and surgeries they overcame as a family. “What we do in life echoes an eternity”
About Operation Motorsport: Operation Motorsport is a Canadian Veteran operated Not for Profit, based in Brighton, Ontario. Founded on the basis of 3 simple words; Excite / Engage / Empower. The premise is to engage, through motorsports activities ill & injured Service Members and disabled Veterans, affected by military service, leading to aiding in their recovery and rehabilitation.