Article written by Jonathon E. Stone (USMC, ret.)
In 2013, we were able to establish a very successful indoor Karting program at our Full Throttle Indoor Karting headquarters . Full Throttle is owned and operated by Aaron and Kerin Banfield and they have helped nurture our young program through a very successful first year. We were also able to start an outstanding Clone Karting team, taking first place in the Clone Lite Series.
“Fueling” our indoor program has been mainly disabled veterans from the Fort Thomas Veterans Administrations Domiciliary and PTSD programs. We have benefited mightily from these veterans and some of them are joining Racing4Vets in 2014 for both indoor and outdoor racing.
The first event of 2014 got off to a frigid start. We were scheduled to have both the Fort Thomas Domiciliary and PTSD programs come and race but inclement weather prevented the transport buses from making the trip. We also expected the Joseph House, a program that serves homeless veterans in Cincinnati, join us as well but they were likewise hindered by the inclement weather.
Although the Fort Thomas and Joseph House Programs were unable to join that day, it wasn’t a complete wash for the Cincinnati chapter as we had five members brave the road conditions to make it. We were pleasantly surprised by one of our past Fort Thomas participants, U.S. Army veteran Robert, who successfully completed his program and took a treacherous 1 hour journey from Lawrenceburg, Indiana to race with us. Robert has an extensive racing history in hydroplane sports through his family and will be participating in our indoor and outdoor programs when his own racing schedule permits.
Another exciting addition to Racing4Vets team on was U.S. Army veteran Mike. Disabled from a blast in Iraq, Mike comes to us through a friendship with other Racing4Vets veterans. Mike will be racing in both the indoor and outdoor karting divisions.
Aaron Banfield and Mike were able meet and talk in-depth about possible arrangements for hand controls he could use in the Clone 420cc kart series this year. This will be our first adapted kart racer in the Cincinnati chapter and it will give us crucial experience to help other local and national vets in similar situations.
After some much-needed time on the track for our chapter, we had a short meeting to discuss upcoming events with our Regional Coordinator Kerin Banfield. The Cincinnati chapter has a full schedule of fundraisers and indoor racing in 2014. It didn’t seem so long ago at this time last year when our local organization seemed more like a concept. However, as we enter 2014 with a major head of steam and clear objectives ahead, those days are well behind us indeed and much bigger and better days are ahead for us all!