News: Kansas National Guard static displays drag racers and vehicles
Story by Sgt. Jessica Barnett
FORT RILEY, Kan. - Kansas National Guard-sponsored racers Cale Aronson of Aronson Racing and Staff Sgt. James Hubbard, marketing noncommissioned officer for Kansas National Guard Retention and Recruiting of Topeka, Kan., showed off their drag racers at a few locations within Fort Riley and Topeka, Kan., June 14-15, 2011.
Aronson will be racing a Ford Boss Mustang and Hubbard will be racing his 1300 nitrous-powered Suzuki Hayabusa for the Kansas National Guard in the American Drag Race League Kansas National Guard Independence Drags V, June 17-18, 2011, at Heartland Park Topeka in Topeka, Kan.
“I wanted to be sponsored by the Guard for a while,” said Aronson.
“It’s something I enjoy, being able to give back. To come out to the race and be with the troops and the soldiers who have done stuff is rewarding to me. It’s something that you can be proud that you’re doing. It’s an organization that you can be proud to be associated with.”
To get locals excited and to thank the troops for their service, Aronson and Hubbard displayed their drag race vehicles at the Fort Riley Post Exchange, Fort Riley Warrior Transition Battalion, Topeka Kansas National Guard Recruiting and Retention station and Harley Davidson of Topeka.
The guys stopped at the Wounded Warrior Transition Battalion in hopes of encouraging the warriors to heal and transition. Aronson and Hubbard spent one-on-one time with soldiers, letting them see the vehicles and explain everything to them.
Soldiers also got to sign the American flag on the roof of Aronson’s race car.
“[This helps the wounded warriors] see that there are different things they can do after the military,” said Erika Turner, director of the Soldier Family Assistance Center. “Part of the transition is being able to go to events like this. Depending on the nature of their injury, it can be a very stressful situation to be in a big crowd or around vehicles or motorcycles because they make a lot of noise.
So just their ability to see this in their own home environment might make it easier for them to go to a community event and enjoy it.”
Sgt. Gerry Smith, a wounded warrior with Company B, Warrior Transition Battalion, felt cared for through the ADRL static display.
“This shows that a lot of people care for us,” said Smith. “They actually help us heal through this process, as we go through this. This motivates us and drives us forward to keep us believing in the fight and not giving up on all our prospects. I am happy to see this here. It means a lot.”
Spectators received free two-day passes to the race along with autographed posters and more. Through the sponsorship of the Kansas National Guard, ADRL is offering free race tickets to all military service members across the United States.