Veterans Day is an appropriate time to spotlight the efforts of longtime Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli TA class competitor Kerry Hitt to help and remember veterans during the 2022 season. Joining forces with Racing for Heroes, Hitt changed the number on his ACP Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro to No. 22 at Watkins Glen International as a way of bringing attention to the 22 veterans a day that die by suicide in the United States.
“We’ve been working with Racing for Heroes, an organization out of Virginia; they’re actually headquartered at VIR. It’s a group that is using racing to help in therapy for PTSD,” explains Hitt. “They’re helping our veterans and first responders. Sadly, there’s 22 veterans per day that die by suicide. We are trying to draw attention to the amount of people that we lose, and the No. 22 was available, so I thought that was a good way to do it.”
Racing for Heroes is a veteran services 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to empower veterans dealing with the seen and unseen wounds of war by filling the gaps left by scarce government resources in an effort to end veteran suicide. Their flagship program uses motorsports as a form of therapy, hosting driving experiences and creating veteran-run teams to instill a sense of purpose and camaraderie in those returning from a life in service.
“My dad was a veteran, an Army Sergeant in World War II,” Hitt noted. “Back then, they called it shell shock — today it’s PTSD — and he dealt with it and suffered for the rest of his life with it. They didn’t have the programs that they have today to do that. Interestingly enough, in looking at the whole history of the veterans coming back from World War II and getting involved in racing, it has been therapy for PTSD for a long time. Many veterans got involved in it and they were able to do something to channel their energy and make it constructive. So, I thought that this would be a way to pay tribute to the veterans.”
You can learn more about Racing for Heroes by visiting www.racingforheroes.org.