Award-winning actor Gary Sinise will serve as the Grand Marshal of next month’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway, with local hero and wounded veteran Marine Cpl. Josh “J.B.” Kerns waving the green flag to start the 500-lap April 1 event.
Currently starring on CBS TV’s “CSI:NY,” Sinise launched the
Gary Sinise Foundation in 2011; a non-profit organization that honors defenders,
veterans, first responders and their families by creating and supporting programs
designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen and build communities.
Recently, the Gary Sinise Foundation and The Stephen Siller
Tunnel to Towers Foundation announced a partnership to build Kerns a “smart
home” in his hometown of Ararat, Va., as part of the Building For America's
Bravest Program. Throughout the Goody's Fast Relief 500 weekend, efforts will
be made to raise both funds and awareness, including a concert with Sinise's
Lt. Dan Band at Martinsville High School on March 31. To make donations to
Building For America's Bravest Program, you can go to www.garysinisefoundation.org.
The Goody’s Fast Relief 500 will be Sinise’s first time reciting
the most famous words in motorsports -- “Gentlemen, Start
Your Engines” – and he said, “The Goody’s Fast Relief 500 weekend is going to
be an unforgettable weekend, bringing together the best racing in the world
with an amazing effort to help J.B. I am so grateful to Goody’s, Martinsville
Speedway and the community for allowing us to be a part of this weekend.”
Kerns, a long-time NASCAR fan, will serve as honorary starter.
He was injured in Afghanistan in April of 2011 when an IED exploded, costing
him both legs and his right arm. Since then, Kerns has endured tremendous pain,
having undergone extensive surgeries and a strenuous regimen of daily physical
and occupational therapy in Bethesda, Md.
“When I was growing up, I remember sitting with my family on weekends
and watching NASCAR races,” said Kerns. “Now, it’s awesome to think that I am
going to be the one waving the flag to start the race.”
Tickets to the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at
Martinsville Speedway are now on sale. For more information, call 877.722.3849
or visit www.martinsvillespeedway.com.