Drivers visit Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany KIRCHBERG, Germany (Dec. 3) -- NHRA drivers Morgan Lucas, Erica Enders, Doug Horne, and Spencer Massey had a memorable Thursday visiting wounded military personnel at Landstuhl Regional...
Drivers visit Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany
KIRCHBERG, Germany (Dec. 3) -- NHRA drivers Morgan Lucas, Erica Enders, Doug Horne, and Spencer Massey had a memorable Thursday visiting wounded military personnel at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and the USO Wounded Warrior Center in Germany. Landstuhl is the first major stop for wounded servicemen and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and is the largest U.S. hospital facility outside the United States.
"I think we all learned something very valuable today," said Lucas, driver of the GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil dragster. "There is simply no way we can ever thank our troops enough for what they do for us. To meet the people we met today, some with pretty bad injuries, and see how gung-ho they are for our country makes you re-think everything. It's so humbling that these people do what they do for all of us.
"I just turned 26 and I'm the youngest guy in Top Fuel but I was older than a lot of the guys and girls in the hospital. What they do and the attitude they have at such a young age is impressive. This is the neatest thing I've ever done and we're already making plans for next year."
GEICO Powersports, Lucas Oil, Toyota, and Mach 1 Global Services are supporting this USO tour, which is being hosted by members of the Armed Forces Entertainment group.
"Germany is a very cool place and everywhere we've gone they just couldn't be nicer to us," said Horne, rider of the Dragster Buell Pro Stock Motorcycle. "All the stops are special but visiting the hospital and the rehab center today will stick with me for a long time. I even had a fan in there! This guy from Romania, he didn't speak English, but when I walked in his hospital room he sat straight up and said, 'Motorcycle star!' and gave it some throttle with his hands. How cool is that? This has been such an awesome experience."
The drivers were led throughout the entire complex, including the incoming Intensive Care Unit, the emergency room, the burn wing, the rehabilitation center, and the recreation area.
"At one point we just sat down with all the soldiers and started trading stories," said Massey, NHRA's reigning Rookie of the Year. "We wanted to hear about their time in the war zone and they wanted to hear what it's like to drive a car 300 mph or ride a motorcycle at 200 mph; it was just like sitting down with a bunch of friends.
"Some of these guys have been to hell and back. The situations they were fighting through and the bad guys they encounter out there, well let's just say I'm glad they're doing what they do so we can do what we do in this country, like race dragsters every weekend."
"What blows you away more than anything is the team spirit they all have," added Enders, driver of the Dragster Ford Mustang Pro Stock car. "They can't wait to get better so they can go back to their units. They miss their friends."
Another highlight of the day was when the group participated in a ceremony for a young Marine that was being promoted to Staff Sergeant.
"This NHRA group is very special," said Master Gunnery Sergeant Frank Bellini, a liaison for the tour. "I've been fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of numerous USO visits when I was in theater but this foursome has really made a mark on me. They have gone above and beyond the call of duty to make our fighting men and women feel so special.
"They are not only fantastic ambassadors for all of their wonderful sponsors but outstanding representatives of the sport of drag racing and the NHRA organization. I plan to personally write a letter to Mr. Tom Compton and let him know how Morgan, Spencer, Doug, and Erica have impacted people here. They've made a difference."