PANTHER ASSISTS IN JACKSON HOUSE RENOVATION TO HELP CELEBRATE VETERANS DAY
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (November 11, 2013) - Turning an IndyCar pit crew into a home renovation team is not an easy task - but when you give Panther Racing an opportunity to help veterans of the US Military, anything is possible.
A downstairs half bath and new flooring were welcome additions to Jackson House, which provides transitional housing for U.S. Armed Forces veterans, according to resident William Price. A pool table in the living room of the downtown Indianapolis residence? Now that was an unexpected gift. And how about tickets to the Indiana Pacers home game on Veterans Day? That, too, was quite a surprise.
“It was awesome. I didn’t know what to expect. We have everything new,” resident and veteran Michael Harney said.
The Hoosier Veteran’s Assistance Foundation, a United Way nonprofit, on Nov. 8-9 teamed with the “Pit Crew,” comprised of volunteers from Panther Racing, Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing, INDYCAR Ministry and the INDYCAR community to renovate the interior of the house that can accommodate six individuals.
Panther's crew led the way with laying new flooring and painting.
"Helping veterans is in our DNA at Panther," team owner John Barnes said. "When we were given this opportunity we asked our guys if anybody wanted to volunteer, and the entire team signed up."
Professional services and materials were provided by local plumbing and electrical companies, The Home Depot Foundation, other local retailers and community donations.
Price, a U.S. Army veteran, is among the current residents after he lost his job of 17 years. While visiting a community center, he learned of the HVAF’s mission of eliminating homelessness among veterans and their families through education, prevention, supportive services and advocacy.
The Veterans Administration estimates that veterans comprise about 15 percent of the homeless population in the United States.
"It's a great feeling to be appreciated," Price said.
Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing driver Charlie Kimball was among the volunteers who spruced up the dwelling that was dedicated in 2000.
“I’m a hands-on kind of guy and the ability to be a part of the Jackson House remodel and spruce it up for the veterans living there and will be living there in the future is a fun Saturday for me,” Kimball said. “It’s really important that when they come back, our veterans in the armed forces, that we do everything we can to support and help them reintegrate into society."