Every year on November 11th our country pauses to honor the great men and women who have fought and sacrificed so much for our freedom. During the NASCAR season, fans commonly see men and women in uniform take place in pre-race ceremonies, walking about the infield, or sitting atop pit boxes. One of the most exciting and patriotic times of the year is the NASCAR Salutes program presented by Coca-Cola that runs during the summer months. NASCAR and teams like Richard Childress Racing often honor different members and branches of the military with patriotic paint schemes, windshield headers, and special messages throughout that time of year.
Torrey Galida, President of Richard Childress Racing, has a special appreciation for military members, being a U.S. Navy veteran himself.
“I am really proud to work in NASCAR and at RCR. I think NASCAR does a better job than any other sport of giving thanks and honoring our Veterans, and Richard has always been a steadfast supporter of our men and women in uniform,” said Galida.
Galida has actively honored our nation’s heroes by integrating his own values for veterans throughout his tenure as President of RCR. Galida’s initiatives are highlighted by working closely with RCR’s partner, Dow, on special paint schemes and regularly assisting with RCR’s program to host veterans at the shop each month.
Just this past summer, Austin Dillon sported a red, white, and blue patriotic scheme on the Dow Chevrolet at the Brickyard 400 over the Independence Day Weekend. The hood of the car was adorned with over 1,200 names of Dow veteran employees, RCR and ECR veteran employees, and veteran family members of each company.
“This is the seventh year that Dow has done a special paint scheme in honor of their veterans and the family members of their veterans,” said Galida. “This program is always something I look forward to every year. I think that it is very important to give back to our military and show appreciation for the sacrifices that our men and women have made over the years.”
“Dow has done a number of events over the years honoring veterans on-site at Dow facilities, and we’ve even taken the hood around to several of Dow’s facilities so that people can see their names on the car. It’s always fun to watch people find their names on the car and see how excited they get,” said Galida.
Seeing his own name among all the other names on the hood of the Dow Chevrolet was something Galida spoke to as well.
“For me, it was still really a thrill. I have been involved in the sport now for 15 years full time. If you are a driver, you get your name on the racecar every weekend, but for somebody like me to see my name actually on the car was really exciting.”
Another important initiative Galida takes pride in at Richard Childress Racing is the monthly meetings with veterans. Richard Childress Racing hosts veterans of all ages and branches of the military on the first Wednesday of each month with coffee and donuts, usually including a guest speaker in the program as well. It was not uncommon to see an average of nearly 200 veterans find their way to the Welcome, N.C. campus before the COVID-19 pandemic put a temporary pause on things.
In addition to these monthly gatherings, Richard Childress Racing have also put on special events for veterans in the past. In May 2019, RCR hosted over 1200 veterans to celebrate the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Among those in attendance were 64 World War II veterans and six veterans who fought on the beaches of Normandy.
Although on November 11th we stop to recognize our heroes on Veteran’s Day, it is not the only day we reflect and pay our respects. Richard Childress Racing will continue to honor our men and women who have served in a variety of ways that are woven into everyday life. From everyone at Richard Childress Racing, we want to say a special thank you to all the men and women who are actively serving and thank you to all the veterans who have served. It is because of you and your sacrifices that we may enjoy our freedoms and continue to do what we love every day. Thank you.
Current RCR Veteran Employees:
Doug Armstrong – Marine
Webb Athay – Navy
Torrey Galida – Navy
John Goodwin – Marine
Shane Greer – Marine
AJ Grubb – Air Force
Eric Kominek – Air Force
Richard Payne – Navy
Joseph Rosenbaum – Marine
Gary Savage – Army
James Staton – Army