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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Salvation Army racing at Daytona thanks to Faith Motorsports

For decades one of NASCAR’s constants has been the name of Morgan Shepherd. The 89 car, operated by Faith Motorsports, will be sporting new colors and the most highly recognizable charitable organization in the world at the Feb. 19 Daytona NASCAR Nationwide Series.

Thanks to a conversation between “Super Dave” Pack at Glockner GM Superstore and Cadet Mark Ferriera of the Portsmouth (Ohio) Salvation Army headquarters, the Salvation Army’s familiar red shield logo with the motto “Doing The Most Good,” will appear on the hood of the 89 car, donated by Faith Motorsports.

“This was largely the legwork of Dave and it’s this cooperation between Faith Motorsports and the Salvation Army that has been worked out at the national level,” Ferreira said. “But the interesting thing is that the beginnings of the project were right here with Dave and me. Dave thought of this idea and came to me to communicate with the right people at the Salvation Army.”

Pack has a history with the Shepherd team.

“Morgan Shepherd and I have been friends for a couple of years that I have done some volunteer work for him,” Pack said. “Morgan Shepherd is a unique individual and he has been racing for over 40 years, and he works through the NASCAR outreach program, and it is what he (Shepherd) calls a Christian ministry on wheels.”

Pack said the ministry operated by Shepherd has the same goals and values as the Salvation Army, which makes the arrangement a natural move.

“So I had come up with the idea through a newspaper article that I had read on the Salvation Army that said they were struggling right now during difficult economic times to meet the demand that is out there,” Pack said. “And I approached Morgan with the idea. And, of course Morgan has people he has to answer to through his charity and ministry. And the board members OKd it.”

Pack decided to reach out and invite Ferreira to lunch and pitch his idea.

“He (Ferreira) probably thought I was a nut, but it was real,” Pack said. “In a two week time it went from Cincinnati to New York. And then it went to the national headquarters in Alexandria, Va.”

Pack received a phone call while on a business trip for Morgan Shepherd in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., from the Salvation Army national headquarters, to discuss the project.

“I got with Morgan, and we have worked very hard to put this together,” Pack said. “Morgan has a small race team made up of a lot of volunteers just like the Salvation Army.”

Pack and Ferreira agree about the goals of the two entities.

“That’s what we’re trying to do – do the most good – and create awareness and education people as to what the Salvation Army does,” Pack said. “Most people are very aware of the Salvation Army at Christmas time with the Red Kettle campaign, but it is not just at Christmas time. It’s all year long.”

Shepherd said placing the logo on his car is a way to call attention to the work of the Salvation Army

during difficult times.

“There are millions in our country right now who have lost their jobs, their homes, and their spirit,” Shepherd said. “We’ll do the best we can to promote the Salvation Army and educate people on what the Salvation Army does to assist the poor and the hungry.”

Pack said another goal is to get people to go to salvationarmyusa.org to learn more about what the Salvation Army does. He said the public needs to know that the Salvation Army is in “difficult times.”

Pack said he thinks it is a great message for people.

“If you think you don’t have anything to give, you can give your time. There’s always something, whether it be a coat, food, a monetary donation, there is something you can do to help a charity as worthy as the Salvation Army,” Pack said. “And we’re very proud to have the Salvation Army on the hood of our race car come Feb. 19. He’s (Shepherd) gonna be racing his tail off.”

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.