We are pleased to announce that Martin Plowman, driver of the #17 Sam Schmidt/AFS IndyCar, will be teaming up with Snowball Express for his scheduled three races in the 2011 IndyCar season at Mid-Ohio, Infineon, and Baltimore. Snowball Express is a 501(c)3 organization created in 2006, whose mission is to provide hope and new memories for the children of our fallen military men and women since 9/11.
Anchored by the main Snowball Express event in Dallas each holiday season, Snowball Express provides each child with an unforgettable all-expenses paid trip to the Dallas-Fort Worth area filled with laughter, celebrity, and healing. Past trips have included concerts, memorial activities, rodeos, a full day at Six Flags, and a special party with the Dallas Cowboys players and cheerleaders at the new stadium.
Francis “Buck” Kern, chairman of the Snowball Express Board of Directors explains, “Every one of our kids has lost a parent while serving in the military since September 11, 2001. Our goal is to bring these kids together…to bond, heal, experience camaraderie with one another and hopefully help give them back a little bit of their childhood. We want them to know that this great country supports them, hasn’t forgotten them and wants to help them through a tough time.”
Laura Youngblood, a Snowball participant and the wife of a fallen hero, says “My daughter never got to meet her dad and there are other kids like her here. Snowball Express takes care of the legacy that the fallen leave behind.”
This partnership seems natural for the young rookie. Martin has understood from childhood that “to whom much is given, much of him shall be required.” His parents instilled in him the character and drive to serve others. Even from a young age, Martin was an advocate for Karting for the Disabled and sponsors a scholarship each year to help a young driver have the opportunities he did.
“I feel it’s my duty, as I start to create a name for myself, to use that name to help others,” said Plowman. “I have been successful because of a great number of people in my life, and I serve the community so I can pay it forward.”
The military connection is not foreign to the 23-year old Brit. He was selected to represent the future of the IZOD IndyCar Series on the Indy 500 Centennial Tour. In a special effort, Martin raised over $20,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project and Help for Heroes, when he had his head shaved on the USS Lincoln. He has also been seen spending the day with our wounded veterans at the recently closed Walter Reed Hospital.
“It is only because of our Armed Forces that we are able to live freely. If it weren’t for the brave men and women who serve our country, I would not be in such a fortunate place in my life. Their sacrifice, and their family’s sacrifice, should never be forgotten or unappreciated. Fortunately, Snowball Express is filling a need – giving these families a chance to rebuild their happiness with people who know exactly what they’re going through.
“I am honored to serve as the official IndyCar driver for Snowball Express. I jumped at the opportunity, and hope that I can spread the word to families who qualify for the program. I’m most excited to attend the Snowball Express event in Dallas and to meet the families.”
In addition to Snowball Express in Dallas, the organization arranges smaller, localized “Snowflake Events,” one of which was the Brickyard 400. The IZOD IndyCar Series has arranged to host several families at each of the races in which Martin will be driving – Mid-Ohio, Sonoma, and Baltimore.
One of the greatest challenges facing Snowball Express is that there exists no “contact list” to reach out to families facing the crisis of a lost loved one in service. It relies solely on word-of-mouth to let families know that this opportunity awaits. Using an IndyCar and an up-and-coming driver ensures that Snowball Express is extending its reach to more families.
For more information regarding Snowball Express, how to sponsor this non-profit organization, or to find out if your family is eligible to participate, visit www.SnowballExpress.org.