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NASCAR Fans Support Troops

By American Forces Press Service

John T. Carney Jr., president of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, receives a check for $100,000 from NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Brad Brown from Budweiser at the Daytona International Speedway, July 7, 2007. The donation represents a portion of the proceeds from the sale of two special-paint-theme replica cars. Courtesy photo by Debbie Roberts

WASHINGTON, July 20, 2007 - Earlier this season, Budweiser and race-car driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. drew attention to a little-known charity with big aspirations.

The NASCAR nation responded en masse, allowing Budweiser to donate $100,000 to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which provides full-ride college scholarships to surviving children of special operations personnel killed in combat or training missions, and immediate financial assistance to special operations personnel severely wounded in the global war on terror.

“Special operations personnel are hand-picked for the most treacherous of missions, and we felt Budweiser needed to show these brave men and women that Americans support and appreciate their courage,” said Randall Blackford, director for Anheuser-Bush’s Budweiser brand. “Anheuser-Busch has supported our nation’s military and their families for more than 150 years, and we’re honored to make this contribution to the efforts of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.”

Budweiser and Earnhardt raced two military-themed paint schemes in 2007. Budweiser’s brown and beige “Desert Camo” car raced Memorial Day weekend during the Coca-Cola 600 in honor of fallen soldiers. The red, white and blue “Stars and Stripes” car ran in the Pepsi 400 and served as a salute to all those who currently serve.

The proceeds from the sale of collectible die-cast cars were earmarked for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

“Through the generosity of Budweiser and the support of NASCAR fans, children of fallen special operations personnel will be reminded that there are caring Americans who recognize the sacrifices that their parents have made and that they want them to succeed in life with a college education,” said John T. Carney Jr., Special Operations Warrior Foundation’s president and chief executive officer. “This donation also serves as a salute to all of the men and women serving in harm’s way all around the globe.”

For more than 27 years, the foundation has provided college scholarship grants for tuition, books, fees, room and board to surviving children of special operations personnel killed in combat or training missions.

The foundation has nearly 700 children in its program, and provided $1.5 million in college scholarship grants, educational, financial aid and family counseling for 109 students who attended 73 colleges and universities in 2006. With an estimated 120-125 students eligible for college each year, the Foundation’s estimated financial need is nearly $76 million.

(From an Anheuser-Busch news release.)