Friday, August 19, 2011

Snapshot of Janet's World

I share with you all a piece of my world.  I have the honor of working for the 2nd largest sports organization in the world, so for those of you who are fans, you know we are four weeks away from what is predicted to be one of the most nail-biting regular season finale races at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, September 10.  Night race, tensions will be high, and this year looks to be one where there won’t be one or two ‘hopefuls’ to land a spot in the top-12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Contending positions – more like ten.  Over the coming weeks as drivers clinch their position in the Chase for the Championship, others are on the ‘outside’ looking in, tirelessly strategizing to capture a win to vault them into the Chase or continuing to place high enough to be there on the main stage taking photographs for hours to be part of NASCAR history.  I share this with you because in many cases, especially for me, there is a strong correlation between pageantry and NASCAR.  Months of preparation, strategic planning, teamwork and those final prayers to ask for strength, support and knowledge to do your best all wrap up into being in winner’s circle.  The scope of what International Pageant system provides to strong, intelligent women worldwide is a stage to educate others.  I am very thankful for the opportunity to share the excitement of NASCAR, The NASCAR Foundation and our passion to help communities and children’s charities including our military charities.  While the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ‘Race for the Chase’ stirs excitement, the passion of those away from the track is just as important.

More than 300 nominees were submitted for the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award.  Finalists will be named shortly and from that point fans will be able to text their vote and vote online for the charity whom they feel most passionate about and who they feel should receive $100,000.  One of the nominees is a sister queen, and Top-12 Finalist, Mrs. Pennsylvania International 2011, Dawn Hicks.  Dawn and her family support the Armed Forces Foundation (AFF), a non-profit organization that provides comfort and support to our military community when they need it most. 



Dawn is a 9-year military veteran.  She began volunteering with AFF at a dinner for Wounded Warriors at the National Naval Medical Center, where she served food to patients and in return, they shared stories with her.  The AFF’s services help veterans and active duty members and their families.  Offering home-cooked meals, assistance carpooling and even homework are welcome ways everyone can help – even if you aren’t a military family, a helpful hand is always in need.  Dawn is able to help you finding families who need help, or sending care packages to our military by emailing her at dawn@papageants.com.  As the 10th anniversary of the unfortunate events on 9/11 approaches, Dawn and her family, Todd, Maddie, Aidan will be laying a wreath at the Flight 93 Memorial near Shanksville, PA in honor of the 3,000 innocent lives lost and the 2,663 US military casualties since. 



I am proud to recognize Dawn and her charitable efforts.  Should she make it to the semi-finals for the Betty Jane France Award, I encourage you to vote for her as she is an outstanding leader with amazing strength, passion and commitment to our military families as well as her own.   In the meantime, the AFF is always in need of volunteers and funds to host morale events for our military children.  Text 50555 to make a $5 donation.  Stay tuned to NASCAR.COM/Unites for the announcement of the four finalists.

Janet Bolin

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