Ryan Newman, Oral-B support Phoenix veterans
November 07, 2013, Holly Cain, NASCAR.com
Ryan Newman showed up at Camp Lejeune two weeks ago on behalf of Oral-B’s “Made in America” campaign prepared to have some fun with the United States Marines stationed there -- tour the facility and sign some autographs, even wave the flag for a fun “grudge match” race among the Marines.
Bad weather forced a change in plans but Newman is convinced the rain was actually a gift. It put him in a more intimate setting with the servicemen and women. And he feels strongly that he didn’t miss out on anything, but instead gained a stark reminder and renewed appreciation for the Marines and their families.
And what it means to be an American.
As fans celebrate Veteran's Day this weekend, Oral-B asks you to show your support for American workers by logging on to OralbUSA.com and taking the pledge to Start Your Day with the USA by using an Oral-B Pro-Healthy All-in-One manual toothbrush. Follow #OralbUSA on Twitter and "like" Oral-B on Facebook.
“We didn’t get a chance to do the grudge match with the bad weather but I think that made it a little more personal and gave us the opportunity to spend more time together at the camp, to talk and have a little tour,’’ Newman said. “It was a lot of fun. It was an experience for me to be able to go to a Marine base like that having been to so many (of his former sponsor) Army bases.’’
“The one thing I learned with the Army, you really should know the story behind the soldiers, what makes them the soldier they are, the sacrifices they make. One of the most special things was the statue they had there of two Marines rescuing the other Marine and the story that went behind it.
“That’s the point, the personal relationship you have with the solider and what makes them who they are. That goes a longer distance than just saying you met. It’s the personal touch to the soldiers.’’
During the interview Newman mentioned the statue a half dozen times, clearly touched by what it portrayed and symbolized.
According to Hope for the Warriors, which commissioned the statue and dedicated it earlier this year, the monument depicts then-1st Sgt. Bradley Kasal being carried out of action by Lance Corporals Chris Marquez and Dane Shaffer. Kasal was injured after running into enemy fire to shield a fellow Marine from a grenade explosion.
“It was so touching, that is the true warrior, these are true heroes, and it makes you realize the sacrifices they make for us,’’ Newman said.
That’s why Newman is so proud to be a part of the Oral-B Built in the USA Tour, which is pledging a $100,000 donation to the Hope for the Warriors fund. With the 2008 Daytona 500 winner’s help, Oral-B is drawing attention to its campaign to help get wounded servicemen and women back into the workplace.
It’s a real world relationship between an American company, producing products in the country -- approximately 1 million toothbrushes a day in its Iowa City, Iowa plant -- and then giving back by donating to American troops.
It’s more than just a sponsorship for Newman, it’s an important cause.
“It’s nice to have that connection of being proud of something that’s built in the USA with people that are proud to work in the USA and represent the soldiers that represent us and give us the freedoms we have in the USA,’’ Newman said smiling as he tied it all in together.
“It’s about being proud Americans and the difference Oral-B makes in working with the soldiers.’’
As for Newman’s visit to Camp Lejeune, he still managed to make it a fun day for all the military members and their families that turned out despite the rain.
“It’s important for the wives and the kids of those who are deployed,’’ Newman said. “They might be a race fan and their dad is deployed so it makes a big difference when they can come out and get an autograph.
“They all may not be Ryan Newman fans, they may just be NASCAR fans. But it’s still a connection of what we do and the message we can deliver that we stand behind their mother or their father and the choices they make to give us the freedoms that they have.’’