Patty Aber, Finalist for the BJF Award

I invite you to learn about my friend Patty Aber by clicking on the video link below.  She, like so many, enjoy life by giving back to others every day.  She has devoted the last 30 years of her life to serving others, with more than 1,700 total volunteer hours served. 

 The Bridge of Books Foundation provides new and gently used books to at-risk children

Patty volunteers with the Bridge of Books Foundation, an organization that shares the world and all its possibilities with at-risk children through books.   She is also a NASCAR Foundation Volunteer Network Ambassador.  I met Patty at Bristol Motor Speedway, on a cold Saturday in March, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend.  We were volunteering together at The NASCAR Foundation display collecting donations for the 2011 NASCAR Day pin. 

Patty volunteering with the Bridge of Books Foundation

Patty and I were the early morning crew, arriving at the track at 7am to help set-up the display and volunteer for the first shift.  Patty, who is from New Jersey, had taken the opportunity to road trip all the way to Bristol with her family – her husband, Tom, and her daughter, Lauren.  Patty, like many NASCAR Fans, enjoy the opportunity to road trip an average of 500 miles just to enjoy a NASCAR race. 

After we had everything set-up, we realized we were amongst a sea of other displays who had opened, as planned, however in the world of Bristol most fans don’t start functioning until the sun starts to shine and since today was an extra cold morning, the midway was vacant for the time being.  So, I took advantage of going to visit one of our merchandise trailers to get us coffee and Oreos.  (Thanks Fish.)

So I bring back coffee for Patty and the rest of the volunteers and they offer them some Oreos.  Still adjusting to the morning hours, Patty looks at me and says, “Are you eating Oreos?”   “Guilty,” I respond.  To which she burst into laughter, looks at the other volunteers who have their eyes wide open and their mouth’s gapping – all because I was enjoying my Oreos with my crown and sash.  They thought that was so out of character for a beauty queen.  I shared with them, “It’s ok.  I’m an aerobics instructor.  We have 12 hours to burn these off.” 

Patty has devoted the past 30 years and over 1,700 hours to volunteering

Throughout the day, I was able to get to know Patty more.  Patty attends five to ten races per year, where she volunteers her time at the track while cheering on her favorite driver, Kasey Kahne.  Her family means the world to her and I was able to get to know them too!  (Her daughter Lauren likes Dale Jr. so there is a little competition in the household.) 

Like many other visits, it was fun to make a new friend and dispel myths about “beauty queens.”  While my day concluded, that wasn’t the last time I’d be able to volunteer with Patty, so we exchanged contact information, hugs and looked forward to our next charity project together.

Me (as Mrs. NC) and Patty Aber at Dover Downs International Speedway

I encourage you to take the time to vote.  The winner is determined by your votes, so you can vote everyone 24 hours.  The winner receives $100,000 for their charity plus a new 2012 Ford Explorer to aid with the charity.  To learn more, please visit NASCAR.COM/unites.  Thank you in advance for your support.

Please vote for Patty Aber every 24 hours!

Janet Bolin


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