DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The NASCAR Foundation announced Louisville, Kentucky, native Jeff Harmon as the winner of the 11th annual presentation of the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award during a live-streamed announcement on NASCAR’s YouTube channel Tuesday. As the award winner, Harmon secured $100,000 from The NASCAR Foundation to Down Syndrome of Louisville.
“I’m so excited and humbled to win this award”, said Jeff Harmon when he first received the news. “The other three finalists were all deserving as well, I’m blessed, what an honor. The $100,000 will go a long way in helping Down Syndrome of Louisville grow and expand to help even more kids. Thank you to The NASCAR Foundation and all who voted!”
Harmon, who has served, supported, and uplifted Down Syndrome of Louisville and the surrounding communities for 18 years, earned the most online votes from a pool of volunteers, including: Erin Collins of the Dallas Hearing Foundation, Jaeleen Davis of Maggie’s Wigs 4 Kids of Michigan, and Beverly Hodson of Richie McFarland Children’s Center, all of whom have impacted a combined number of 6,330 kids through their continual service. Each of these organizations has each earned a $25,000 donation from The NASCAR Foundation in recognition of their nominated volunteers’ achievements.
“We’re very proud to present this award to Jeff Harmon, he has been doing extraordinary work for Down Syndrome of Louisville and exemplifies the values of Betty Jane France,” said Mike Helton, The NASCAR Foundation Chairman. “Our fans had a tough decision because all four are passionate people who devote hours of their time to help their respective organizations. We’re delighted to present this recognition to Jeff to honor the work he’s doing in the Louisville community.”
Throughout the 11 years of its existence, the Betty Jane France Award has highlighted 44 different individuals who have served and uplifted children in their local communities. The NASCAR Foundation, through this program, has acknowledged 622 years of combined service from these community heroes who have touched at least 374,763 children’s lives overall.
Harmon began his tenure volunteering for the Down Syndrome of Louisville (DSL) 18 years ago, when his son, Justin, was born with Down Syndrome. Serving in the capacity of coach and fundraiser, he logs around 20 hours per month with the organization. The organization serves as a support system for local families and individuals that have dealt with Down Syndrome.
Harmon and the DSL plan to use the $100,000 cash prize to help implement modern playground equipment and sensory room renovations, as well as launching satellite campuses to further support the Down Syndrome community.
Aside from his service, Harmon has been a committed lifelong fan of NASCAR, with his all-time favorite driver being Darrell Waltrip. The racing fan grew up racing modified stock cars with his family and friends, and now gets to share his love of the sport with his own family and children.
To learn more about The NASCAR Foundation’s programs, including the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award and Speediatrics Children’s Fund, please visit NASCARfoundation.org.