June 1, 1999
With an eye toward the future, Kiwanis International teamed with Galles Racing and the Spinal Conquest Foundation for the 83rd running of the Indianapolis 500 this past May 30.
Davey Hamilton's #9 Galles Racing Spinal Conquest entry, which started from the middle of the fourth row, carried with it the Kiwanis International logo and the combined resources of the organization's 600,000 worldwide members when it finished 11th among the 33 competitors. Hamilton's Spinal Conquest sponsorship, which has been featured by the team since the second event of the current Indy Racing League (IRL) season, generates visibility and funding for the research of spinal paralysis.
The unique sponsorship was the idea of Mike and Sharon Koehler of Dalhart, Texas, whose son suffers from paralysis caused by an auto accident. Sponsorship monies raised by the team will generate research, and racing was chosen due to its high visibility and fan loyalty. "This makes a great program even stronger," says Rick Galles, owner of Galles Racing. "Several individuals associated with our team are members of Kiwanis clubs and suggested this partnership. We feel that this is a win-win for both organizations."
The partnership will pair Kiwanis clubs in the communities hosting future IRL events with the Spinal Conquest Foundation. Kiwanis members will assist in promoting Spinal Conquest and raising funds for research, and also will be able to generate funds for their own existing charitable club endeavors. "Kiwanis always has been and always will be about service," says Kiwanis executive director A.G. Terry Shaffer. "Our members take great pride in making their communities and the world a better place. This creative partnership allows our members to give back while they enjoy the atmosphere of the IRL and the racing community."