Joshua T. Harris was a decorated U.S. Navy SEAL who earned the nickname, ‘The Son of Lexington’ for his local roots and the positive mark he left on the community.
The No. 3 Dow Racing team honored him on Memorial Day weekend in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and took his name to Victory Lane.
Harris was an all-county and all-conference football player at Lexington (North Carolina) High School, an accomplished artist who earned a degree in studio art from Davidson College and studied in Prague, France and New York City. He was a man who pursued a Master’s degree in Architecture while working as a bookseller and carpenter. He volunteered for the Special Olympics and Mighty Mutts.
At the age of 28, when he was on the brink of being too old to try out for the SEAL Team training program, Harris entered the Navy where he worked his way from SEAL Team 4 to SEAL Team 10, and eventually joined the Navy’s most elite counter-terrorism unit, SEAL Team 6, the Naval Special Warfare Development Group.
It was on SEAL Team 6 that Harris gave his life while leading a turbulent river crossing during combat operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in August 2008. He was 36 years old. It was one of over 100 missions that he was a part of as a Navy SEAL.
A decorated military veteran, Special Warfare Operator First Class SEAL Harris’ military honors included a Purple Heart, three Bronze Stars (two with valor) and numerous awards and campaign medals.
RCR will honor Harris this weekend with a special windshield header on Austin Dillon’s No. 3 entry as part of NASCAR’s 600 Miles of Remembrance program.
In addition to the windshield header, the entire paint scheme on the No. 3 Dow Chevrolet was inspired by the Harris family. With deep tones of mahogany and themes of red, white and blue throughout, Dillon’s patriotic scheme helps kick off the NASCAR: An American Salute Refreshed by Coca-Cola program and represents a partnership between the Dow Chemical Company and Coca-Cola. Both corporations have long-standing commitments to veterans and active military employees. They each worked with RCR to create the Coca-Cola 600 paint scheme.
The paint scheme was directly inspired by a 325-lb wine and whiskey barrel flag that the Harris family presented to Richard Childress as a token of appreciation for Childress’ hospitality and friendship. The family first met Childress several years ago during a chance encounter at the race shop in Welcome, N.C. during a routine tour. Their friendship was instant and strong due to their mutual ties to the local community and appreciation for the military.
It seems fitting that the flag served as the inspiration for this weekend’s paint scheme because by all accounts, Joshua Thomas Harris, son of Lexington, inspired the community his entire life. More than 1,000 attended his memorial service in Lexington in 2008.
You can help keep Petty Officer Harris’ legacy alive by contributing to the Joshua T. Harris Memorial Golf Classic http://jthmemorialgolf.com/