BUSCH: Pettys start childrens camp

Still grieving, Pettys generosity unyielding By Marty Smith ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (Oct. 21, 2000) After the death of their patriarch and the untimely passing of their future, the Petty family should be extremely bitter. Yet, their efforts to reach...

Still grieving, Pettys generosity unyielding
By Marty Smith

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (Oct. 21, 2000) After the death of their patriarch and the untimely passing of their future, the Petty family should be extremely bitter. Yet, their efforts to reach out to others is unyielding.

The Pettys, namely Kyle and Pattie, in conjunction with Paul Newman's Hole in the Wall Gang Camps, are founding The Victory Junction Gang Camp, a retreat for seriously ill children. The summer camp program will serve medically complex children whose impairment prevents them from attending any other camp. This is the seventh in Newman's network of children's camps, the first of which opened in 1988.

The camp will be located in Level Cross, N.C., on land donated by Richard and Lynda Petty, and is scheduled to open in Summer, 2004. Early monetary contributions include $50,000 from the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp Fund and an additional $50,000 from The Winston Cup Racing Wives Auxiliary.

That's nowhere near enough. Kyle Petty, CEO of Petty Enterprises, said Saturday that it would take some $25 million to build, then an additional $2 million per year for upkeep.

"We're doing this to honor Adam's memory," said Kyle of his late son, who was fatally injured in a crash during practice at New Hampshire International Speedway last May.

The idea for the camp was sparked in 1998, when Kyle and Pattie ventured to Newman's Boggy Creek Gang Camp in Florida. After visiting with the children, they decided it was time to contribute.

"This will give those kids an opportunity to feel normal, because everyone around will have the same condition," Kyle Petty said. "One week, kids with HIV will be there. The next week, it'll be kids with hemophilia. They'll all be able to share stories, which is something they don't get to do a lot. They'll all be the same, so they'll feel normal."

The children will participate in various outdoor activities, from archery to swimming to theater. A full-time pediatric physician will be at the camp year-round, along with two fulltime nurses. Additionally, specialized medical staff will attend the camp each week to deal with the specific disease groups. Brenner Children's Hospital, Duke Medical Center, the North Carolina Pediatric Society, Eastern Carolina University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill will all provide medical staff.

"I just knew this was the right thing to do, to create this camp and help these children," Pattie Petty said. "It is a place to love, where everyone heals."

If anyone deserves a chance to emotionally heal, it is the Pettys. After losing the first racing Petty, Lee, in April at the age of 86, and then 19-year old Adam a month later, they have experienced unbearable strife.

They could choose to drown their sorrows in a sea of grief, but they've found refuge in helping others. -nascar.com-

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About this article
Series Automotive , Monster Energy NASCAR Cup , NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Kyle Petty , Paul Newman