No. 54 National Guard Driver Todd Bodine tours the Pentagon, Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Army National Guard Readiness Center WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 12, 2003) -- It was a once in a lifetime experience for Todd Bodine, driver of the...
No. 54 National Guard Driver Todd Bodine tours the Pentagon, Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Army National Guard Readiness Center
WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 12, 2003) -- It was a once in a lifetime experience for Todd Bodine, driver of the No. 54 National Guard Ford as he spent the day touring the Pentagon, Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Army National Guard Readiness Center as a guest of his NASCAR Winston Cup advertiser, the National Guard. Bodine has gotten to see quite a bit of country thanks to his profession however; today's visit was his first time in the Nation's capitol.
"This whole day has been such an eye opening experience," said the 39-year old native of Chemung, N.Y. "The Pentagon is such an amazing place. Here I am walking through the halls and brushing elbows with extraordinary individuals who are there to protect us our freedoms that hopefully none of us will ever take for granted." He went on to add, "Both my wife, Lynn and I are in awe of the historical displays that are on the wall's of this facility. We never knew it housed it's own museum of history."
Another display that touched everyone who accompanied Bodine and his BelCar Racing co-owner, Sam Belnavis was the September 11th Memorial located at the Pentagon's Ground Zero. Both Bodine and Belnavis signed a remembrance book to pay their respects to the 59 passengers and crewmembers onboard Flight 77 and the 125 service members and civilians who were inside when the plane crashed into the Pentagon.
Shortly thereafter it was time to switch gears as General Roger Schultz who leads the Army National Guard's efforts escorted Bodine to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The NASCAR driver spent time talking to service members receiving treatment after being injured in Afghanistan and Bosnia. One of those patients was Staff Sgt. Michael McNaughton from the 769th Engineer Battalion, Louisiana National Guard. He lost his leg while serving in Operation Enduring Freedom. McNaughton received national attention earlier this year after President George W. Bush visited him at Walter Reed. The Staff Sergeant told Bodine about his plans to go running with the President however he was more interested in discussing car set-up ideas he had for the National Guard team as they prepare for this weekend's race at Darlington Raceway.
Bodine said with a smile before heading to his final destination, the Army National Guard Readiness Center, "McNaughton is a true hero and I am honored to have been able to thank him personally for what he has done for his country. Our service members are making a tremendous sacrifice to protect our country and our freedom. The Staff Sergeant may be a NASCAR fan, but I hope he now knows he's got fans of his own. Thanks to people like him, we all can go racing."