New York, N.Y. (August 8, 2023) – ARCA Menards Series professional race car driver Christian Rose, the Disability Opportunity Fund (DOF), and Nine Line Apparel today announced the launch of the “Racing for STRIDE (Supporting and Transforming Rights, Inclusion, Disability Empowerment)” initiative aimed to celebrate and honor veterans with disabilities. DOF, Rose, and Nine Line will provide one veteran with a disability the opportunity to win a brand-new, accessible, redesigned Ford F-150 truck, courtesy of Paul Thigpen Automotive Group.
A prominent figure in the ARCA Menards Series, Rose, who drives the No. 32 Ford for AM Racing, honors the sacrifice men and women have made to serve our country, and his family ties to the military. Rose also has a passion for people with disabilities. Rose self-identifies with a disability (dyslexia) and his father lives with the effects of polio. By joining forces with DOF, Rose offers invaluable support for this new initiative.
“It is truly an honor to be part of something so much bigger than oneself. I have deep ties to the military community, with my Grandfather serving during World War II, my uncle serving in the Marines and my two childhood friends currently serving in the Air Force and Army,” said Rose. “As someone who is a patriot for our country and passionate about those who have served and continue to serve, being able to work with DOF, Nine Line Apparel and AM Racing on this initiative means a lot not only to myself but to my family as well.”
DOF is Rose’s official charity partner for his entire 2023 Motorsports schedule. A nationally certified Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI), DOF’s mission is to provide financial products, technical assistance, equity investment and financial advisory services that improve the quality of life and build personal wealth for people with disabilities and their families and support organizations serving the population. The STRIDE initiative represents DOF’s goal to ensure that people with disabilities have access to the opportunities that allow them to live dignified, productive lives and pursue their hopes and dreams.
“This initiative is a special opportunity to honor the individuals who have made the sacrifice to allow us the freedom we enjoy today, and this is DOF’s way of saying ‘thank you,’” said DOF President and CEO Charles Hammerman. “We are beyond thrilled to join forces with Christian and his team to empower our veterans through this initiative. They are all deserving of our continued support.”
“Being a veteran with a disability myself, this project means the world to me,” said retired Army veteran Drew Grillon, sales consultant at Paul Thigpen Ford. “Paul Thigpen Auto Group is honored to be part of this initiative, and we say a special ‘thank you’ to all who served and wish every deserving veteran that enters the best of luck.”
The centerpiece of the groundbreaking initiative is the Racing for STRIDE competition that invites veterans with disabilities, or a representative on their behalf, to submit an application sharing their story of living with a disability, their experience serving the country, and the impact a new, redesigned, accessible Ford F-150 truck would have on their lives. The first part of the application process opens on August 1, 2023, and runs through August 31, 2023.
After this, the judges will select three finalists to submit a 30-second video for final consideration. The competition is open to individuals nationwide who wish to nominate a deserving veteran with a disability in their community, and individuals can also refer a friend by sharing a picture of their nominee on DOF’s Facebook and Instagram accounts using the hashtag (#racingforstride). Participants can enter to win at racingforstride.com.
The grand prize of a new, redesigned, accessible Ford F-150 truck – up to $20,000 will be used to customize the truck to accommodate the winner’s disability – will be presented to the chosen recipient during a special ceremony at the Championship races in Phoenix November 3-6, 2023.
As part of the Racing for STRIDE initiative, DOF and Rose have also teamed up with Nine Line Apparel, a veteran-owned and operated lifestyle brand, to create a limited edition DOF branded hat and other select Nine Line apparel that will be available for purchase ahead of Rose’s ARCA Menards Series race at Watkins Glen International in New York on August 18. Nine Line will donate part of the proceeds to DOF to support its mission of empowering organizations that serve people with disabilities.
“As a giveback organization, Nine Line was built on the foundation of honoring and helping those that serve our nation,” said Tyler Merritt, founder and CEO of Nine Line Apparel. “We are honored by this opportunity to partner with DOF and Christian Rose to give back to a service member with a disability. We hope that this fully accessible Ford F-150 will open up opportunities for a veteran with a disability in need, and we thank Paul Thigpen Automotive Group for their involvement.”
To learn more about the initiative and submit an application, please visit racingforstride.com. To learn more about the Disability Opportunity Fund, please visit thedof.org or their Facebook and Instagram pages.
About NINE LINE APPAREL
Founded in 2012 by Army Captain and former Special Operations Air Mission Commander Tyler Merritt, Nine Line Apparel is a patriotic lifestyle brand based out of Savannah, Georgia. Nine Line is known for their patriotic designs, and as a give-back organization that supports our nation’s veterans and first responders through the Nine Line Foundation and other non-profit initiatives. To learn more, visit ninelineapparel.com.