Jason, like Tony, enjoys racing in its many forms, animals and children. When asked why he donates to TSF, Jason’s quick response was “my life gives me no other option”. Introduced to racing at a dirt track in Pennsylvania cheering on great drivers like Keith Kauffman, Jason caught the “racing bug” at an early age. Today he sums up his passion as: “NASCAR is my favorite series, the Best Day of the Year is the Daytona 500, my favorite race is the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, the most fun is being in the stands at The Night Race at Bristol every year (saw Tony win!), I get out to the Knoxville Nationals every year and I make it to the US Nationals about every other year”.
Jason wasn’t content to simply be a spectator so he followed a path leading to work at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for each season’s races including the whole Month of May. He works in Pagoda Command as the representative in the command post for both the Gates and Traffic divisions. Last year Jason even inherited the #14 official badge for the IMS racing season.
Also drawing Jason from Illinois to the Hoosier state (Indiana) is his work as a volunteer & Board member for the Exotic Feline Rescue Center – home to more than 215 big cats from 9 different species. EFRC, founded in 1991, is one of a handful of reputable exotic cat rescue groups in the United States. EFRC does not buy, sell, trade, breed, or give away any of the cats; rather, giving each a home for the rest of its life. EFRC’s outstanding services & programs have earned them a place annually among the TSF Grant Recipients. Jason’s personal favorite is a 550 lb. tiger named Herman – who happens to enjoy a new enclosure through a TSF grant. As Jason describes, “Herman has a mark over his right eye that looks like a pi symbol and my undergraduate degree is in Mathematics & Computer Science, and he’s got an adorable social quirk in that he is deathly afraid of umbrellas. One has to love such a cat”.
Jason was inspired to begin his charitable giving after his childhood friend, Chuck Reed, died from cystic fibrosis while the boys were in fifth grade. Among other volunteer efforts, Jason donates his spring Bristol tickets to Make-A-Wish and has served on the Champaign (IL) Regional Council in several different roles.
So, we’ve circled back to why Jason is such an avid supporter of Tony’s foundation. In simplistic terms, Jason describes his life as driven by racing, animals & sick kids. And, all have direct ties to Tony Stewart. Jason shared, “I really have no option except to give money to assist the Tony Stewart Foundation for their mission of helping those in need in each of those areas. I chose to give to the Lap Leaders monthly for ongoing support to do what I can to keep these efforts going month after month, year after year. I chose to give unrestricted allowing the foundation to best address their current needs”.
Jason’s Message to Tony Fans. Do you really need another 14 hat? Of course you do, but you could also do some good with that money. Send it to the Tony Stewart Foundation. And, if you can spare even $10.00 for one month, then why not repeat it the month after that? And the next… It’s very easy to setup your ongoing donation and join the Lap Leaders. It’s not because you’ll feel good helping others (you will), it’s because of the amount of good all of us together can do for those in need. Thanks and say hi if you see me at the track, I’m the guy in the #14 hat!