HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — Joey Gase was as surprised as he was touched in winning the inaugural Comcast Community Champion Award at Monday night’s NASCAR XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series awards banquet.
Gase, 22, was genuinely touched by the big honor — a tribute to his mother Mary Jo, who died from a brain aneurysm when Gase was only 18 years old.
Four people representing NASCAR’s three series were among the group nominated for the award — in addition to Gase it also included Martin Truex Jr. and his girlfriend Sherry Pollex (Sprint Cup) and Martha Nemechek (grandmother of Truck series driver John Hunter Nemechek).
Truex and Pollex were nominated for the award for their work with cancer patients and Nemechek was honored for her time helping grieving families — a nod to the loss of her youngest son John, 27, who died from injuries suffered in a Truck Series race at Homestead, Florida in 1997.
Gase was absolutely surprised when his name was announced, but also extremely humbled and grateful to be the selection.
“It’s amazing,” a thankful Gase said. “It’s the first time Comcast has done this and not only to honor my mom, but to let people know we’re doing everything we can.
“I was surprised. I didn’t know what to expect for sure.”
Gase was obviously extremely touched by the award, speaking about what the $60,000 donation from Comcast will mean as he continues his work to increase awareness about organ donation.
“It is very sad, but for me and my family. … the one thing that was able to come from it was my mom was able to help 66 people and she would be proud to know that. A lot of people think only of the recipients but it’s also the other family members knowing that if it wasn’t for my mom their loved one wouldn’t be helped.”
A $30,000 donation was also made to the charitable organizations of Truex and Nemechek.