Folks, there’s nothing like a long weekend filled with beer, barbecue, boating, and racing. After all, that’s what America is about, isn’t it? We are truly privileged to live in the greatest country in the world at the greatest time to be alive in the history of the world. Despite what anyone may say, we truly have a beautiful thing going on here.
However, none of this would be possible without the men and women in our armed forces sacrificing their lives to make this country a better and safer place.
This weekend. The beer in your hands. Your boat. None of it is possible without the troops, who throughout the course of our nation’s history were willing to go to bat for us. We truly owe a debt of gratitude to all of those who have served our country and we should all spend some time remembering those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice this Memorial Day weekend.
America is great because our country stands on the shoulders of giants. NASCAR is honoring these giants as all Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series™ race cars will bear the name of a fallen service member on the windshield during the Coca-Cola 600 this weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway as a part of the “NASCAR Salutes” platform.
But for JTG Daugherty Racing’s Brian Burns, the lead engineer on the No. 37 team, the story is more personal than that. The fallen heroes that JTG Daugherty Racing will be honoring on the windshields of Ryan Preece’s No. 47 car and Chris Buescher’s No. 37 car both served with Brian Burns in the Army National Guard between the years of 1993-2001.
Preece’s no. 47 car will be honoring SPC William Jeffries, who spent ten years in the US Air Force before enlisting in the Army National Guard. He was deployed to Kuwait and he served on Operation Iraqi Freedom until his death on March 31st, 2003.
SPC Jeffries was the kind of person who made people’s lives better just by being around him. Burns recalls that he always had a big smile on his face during every interaction with him.
“SPC Jeffries was a guy that made it hard to be in a bad mood if you were in his presence,” Burns said. “I can’t ever remember a time seeing him that he didn’t have a great big grin on his face.”
Buescher’s no. 37 car will be honoring SFC David Moore who served in the Army National Guard for 20 years. He served three tours in Bosnia, Kuwait and Iraq assigned to the 1st Battalion, 152nd Infantry Regiment, Indiana Army National Guard along with SPC Jeffries and Burns. He passed away on February 4, 2008 from complications after being exposed to chemicals while deployed.
SFC Moore’s legacy is one of great leadership and mentorship. He took Burns under his wing when he was a young soldier and he always looked after the troops that he was leading.
“SFC Moore was a great leader and mentor for me during my time in service. He always took care of his soldiers and had the respect of everyone around him,” Burns said.
The drivers of the two JTG Daugherty Racing cars this weekend are also proud to be honoring these two fallen heros.
“I’m really grateful to be able to honor a fallen soldier with such a personal connection to the team,” Preece said. “With this being my first Coca-Cola 600, I’m proud to have SPC Jeffries’ name on the windshield of our Kroger Camaro ZL1 for 600 miles at Charlotte Motor Speedway.”
Chris Buescher talked about the family culture the No. 37 team has and how having SFC Moore’s name on his car will be an honor.
“Brian Burns has been my engineer since I started at JTG Daugherty Racing, and we’re like a big family on our No. 37 team,” Buescher said. “It’s hard to put into words how special it is to have SFC Moore’s name on our car for 600 miles and pay tribute to someone who is an extension of our own family here.”
The NASCAR Salutes program is just one small way to honor the fallen heroes who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country. As free Americans, we owe it to them to do good deeds for other people, chase our dreams, and make the world a better place. That’s what all of our fallen heroes would want. That’s what they sacrificed their lives for.
“I have been able to enjoy an exciting career in NASCAR and live a wonderful life with my family because these two brave men made the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” Burns said.
Our debt of gratitude can never be repaid.