Racing for Hero's gains speed at Unser Racing track
By Airman 1st Class Marcy Glass, 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 23, 2011
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Stepping onto the track at Unser Racing, one could feel the anticipation of the event. Ten representatives from the Air Force and the Army gathered together Feb. 20 at the indoor track to participate in a new event created by Craig Mansfield. The first event of the year, Mr. Mansfield brought Racing for Hero's to the Front Range.
"For me, when my son was killed, that became the day when my mind became clear. With everything going on with the military suicide rates and things throughout the world I knew if I exposed the soldiers and Airman to go-karting and the experience that it (karting) is all about. They could use it to clear their minds and hopefully it would help to lower the pressures in their lives and the suicide rates. And, it gave the karting community a chance to say thank you for the jobs that the military is doing," said Mr. Mansfield in regards to why he started this event.
"It was heartwarming to see the reaction of the soldiers and Airman, and just watching how good they were at it and how focused they were and how they came up to me thanking me and for them to tell other's about this kind of experience that is available so they can mentally relieve pressure from their jobs in the military."
Staff Sgt. Freddie Gomez, 460th Space Communications Squadron completed his victory lap while waving a checkered flag signifying the end of the day's racing events and signaling the start of trophies and food provided by Ajuua Mexican Restaurant.
"It was an opportunity to be a part of another event hosted by Mr. Mansfield. This was my second event with the Mansfield's and the Peak One Awards and I am just trying to stay involved and this sort of event is a good thing to stay involved with," said Staff Sergeant Gomez.
Other Airmen and soldiers also appreciated the event.
"It was a great time and I really enjoyed being able to go out there and to compete against some of my fellow comrades, and have fun at the same time and basically to bring awareness to Mr. Mansfield cause of not drinking and driving," said Sergeant Ryan Osadchuk, 2nd Bn., 135th Aviation, Colorado Army National Guard. "It was all for a good cause to bring awareness to not drink and drive and mainly just to be able to go out there and have fun honoring a good cause."
Mr. Mansfield's son, Senior Airman Kristopher Mansfield, 460th Space Communications Squadron was struck and killed by a drunk driver Sept. 4, 2004. Motivated by the passing of his son, Mr. Mansfield has become a strong advocate against drunk driving, bringing awareness to Buckley and the surrounding communities through events such as the Hero's for Racing.
"I would like to give a huge thank you for everyone who participated in this event, and I hope to see everyone come out for the 9/11 event Racing for Heroes at the action go-karting track at Vandermere's. Participants will be the military, police, firemen, and first responders to honor the tenth anniversary of 9/11 in conjunction with Colorado Junior Karting Club," said Mr. Mansfield.