Racing teams, from the local Saturday night level right up to the nationally sanctioned series, are well known for displaying a lot of heart and soul during the performance of their duties. Many of them are also known for displaying a lot of heart off of the track as well. There's hardly a week that goes by without hearing about a racing team that ensorses a very important social cause. This is another one of those great stories.
Sylvania, Ohio's Terry Cook is a nine year veteran of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and a long time fan favorite. Cook is well known for endorsing worthy causes over the years and this year he has lent his time to something very special.
Cook, along with his sponsor Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International, have teamed up this year with Paws With A Cause a non profit organization that trains assistance dogs for people with mobility and hearing disabilities. The team's goal is to raise awareness and funds for PAWS through a program they're calling Racing For Independence.
The Racing For Independence program will jointly assist PAWS and, at the same time, promote the excitment of NASCAR Craftsman Truck racing via the use of a two seat racing simulator.
During the weekend of October 2nd and 3d, when the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series was racing at the California Speedway in Fontana, Cook's team set up an exact replica of his #10 Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford Truck which allowed fans the opportunity to get inside of it and get the feel of what its like to sit in a racing truck.
A PAWS training representative, who accompanies the race truck display at all events, presented a demonstration on how an assistance dog provides independence to its client and answered questions and then graciously accepted the generous donations from the racing fans who were clearly impressed with the dog's training and the program's mission.
PAWS encourages independence for individuals with a broad range of disabilites. To breed, raise, train and place each assistance dog costs more than $18,000. With no local, state or federal funding available, PAWS relies on generous donors as the lifeblood of the organization. A portion of the donations also goes toward an endowment fund for clients who need to retire their dogs and maintain the same quality of life with another PAWS dog.
Michael Sapp, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Paws With A Cause, said he certainly recognizes the drawing power of NASCAR and added "to be a part of a great program like this with International and Power Stroke Diesel is something that we're really truly enjoying. This is an opportunity to increase the awareness of our mission that a not for profit group like us would never have the manpower or the funding to be able to execute on our own. We are truly grateful to have Terry Cook and International Truck and Engines Coporation support our efforts."
Terry Cook is also very excited about Racing For Independence and said "Paws With A Cause gives people with disabilities the independence they need to live their daily lives. I have met several PAWS clients and trainers this year through the program and the gratitude they have for Paws With A Cause and the program we've put together this year is tremendous. More and more race fans are recognizing Paws With A Cause and are making donations at the race simulator appearances knowing how much it costs to train and place an assistance dog. You don't see too many drivers get involved with a program like this. I'm very excited to be the first ever to represent a great program like Paws With A Cause."
For more information check the website at www.pawswitha cause.org.
This is just another sterling example of how racing teams display a great deal of heart off of the racetrack.