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Old 01-20-2010, 09:35 AM   #1
Mystycl
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Default NASCAR Cares too......

http://www.nascar.com/2010/news/feat...ane/index.html


Hendrick crew transport precious cargo from Haiti

Two aircraft, flight crews donated to help nonprofit group

By Raygan Swan, NASCAR.COM
January 20, 2010
11:22 AM EST

Time was running out, dark was approaching and wheels had to be up by 5:30 p.m. Inside the plane parked on the tarmac, Dave Dudley is texting his boss back in the United States. Don't worry we're en route, explains the veteran pilot and director of aviation for Hendrick Motorsports. Finally, with less than five minutes to spare, a van arrives.



"I just said 'look board them and lets go, crank the engine. I will deal with customs at Fort Pierce," Dudley said. "Honestly I think all of us were willing to risk our pilot's license to get them home."

The van doors opened and out climbed 26 Haitian orphans all displaced from last week's earthquake that killed thousands in their Caribbean country.


Exhausted and visibly distressed, the children -- some as young as six months old -- filed into the plane. It was the same plane used to transport NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick's drivers and crew members to and from the races during the regular season. Now it was a ride home for 26 tired and scared children.


Doing his part to aid in the relief efforts in Haiti, Hendrick has provided two 45-passenger Saab 2000 aircraft and two flight crews with additional support staff to help a nonprofit group, Missionary Flights International, conduct support missions into and out of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.


Most of the operations involve transporting U.S. citizens trapped in Haiti who were there conducting mission work before the earthquake struck. Navigating through bureaucratic red tape required in time to transport Haitian orphans to the states was not something Dudley thought was possible.


So once he saw the children within his reach, some wearing no shoes and fearful of the plane, Dudley became overwhelmed with emotion.


"It was surreal. The children were traumatized and scared. It was extremely quiet at first, but within 45 minutes they were laughing and all over the place," he said.


Starved for human affection, Dudley said he had children climbing on his lap, putting their tiny hands on his legs and just wanting to be held.


"They were the sweetest kids you would ever want to meet in your life. They were running down the aisles, drawing pictures and they had never been on a plane before."


Picking up the precious cargo was just the beginning for Dudley and his Hendrick Motorsports crew. Delivering them to U.S. families waiting at customs in Fort Pierce to take them home was the true joy.


"These families might have had to wait years for the adoption process, but because of the circumstance they were able to take them home," Dudley said.


Hendrick Motorsports has yet to determine how long they will continue the missions but when NASCAR.COM spoke with Dudley Tuesday night he was scheduled to pick up a dozen more orphans today.


"I can easily tell you that after flying for 37 years, this was by far the most awesome experience I've had as an aviator," he said. "The best flight of my career. There is nothing that will come close. I mean I got to hold those babies."



Typically, January is a month of rest and recuperation for Hendrick Motorsport's aviation department. Flight mechanics, pilots and flight attendants work a rigorous schedule during NASCAR's regular season that starts in February and doesn't end until November.

Nevertheless, when the boss said he wanted to help the victims in Haiti his employees lined up to help, volunteering their personal time and personal safety.


In addition to Dudley, five captain-level pilots, one operations manager, a mechanic and two flight attendants are a part of the Hendrick missions staying in Fort Pierce until further notice.
Marshall Carlson, general manager for Hendrick Motorsports, said the amount of support from the employees and team sponsors is amazing.


"So many folks stepped forward," Carlson said. "Rick said yesterday 'if everybody waited for someone else to help they'd never get any help' so we reach out when we can."
And because of Hendrick's generosity, members of the NASCAR family are benefiting as well.


Driver Mike Wallace's family who supports a children's medical clinic in Haiti received support from physicians flown in on the Hendrick plane. Emily Woodward who works in NASCAR's Charlotte, N.C. office was able to turn to Hendrick's mission flights when her family needed help shipping the body of a deceased family friend back to the United States.


"We were struggling to get his body home to North Carolina and heard about the Hendrick planes. They were the conduit, the one missing piece that was able to gain closure for the family," Woodward said.


Hendrick sponsors are stepping up to the plate as well.
To date, team sponsors have donated $3.8 million to relief efforts in Haiti.


Meanwhile, back in Fort Pierce, Dudley can't help but think about the orphans on the plane; the impression they left with him. He also thinks about his boss, Mr. Hendrick, who lost his son in a team plane crash five years ago.


"I know this one is tugging at his heart," Dudley said. "You can't help but wonder if this is the earth moving in a good way, something is happening for us and it's bringing orphans home to loving families."
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Old 01-20-2010, 09:36 AM   #2
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rick hendrick has more money than he knows what to do with. and is a great and generous guy!
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Old 01-20-2010, 12:00 PM   #3
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that's awesome Myst and it made me cry a bit while reading it. Hooray for Nascar and Hendrick
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Old 01-20-2010, 12:14 PM   #4
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i just love that family...
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Old 01-20-2010, 12:57 PM   #5
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I also need a Kleenex - love Hendrick Motorsports. Thats what people with a lot of money should be doing. God Bless them for steppin up.
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Old 01-20-2010, 01:38 PM   #6
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oh me too, yall. i bawled thru the whole article
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