1: warrior, fighter
2: a militant advocate or defender
3: one that does battle for another's rights or honor
4: a winner of first prize or first place in competition; also : one who shows marked superiority.
I like number three as it best reminds me of two of my favorite champions for a cause or rights that I know. They would be my friend Gerie Bledsoe and my daughter Charmagne Faules.
Each year when the Coyote Convoy arrives in San Miguel de Allende good things begin to happen. Not only do the La Carrera teams get a reprieve from the long arduous drive which for some begins as far away as Canada, but something even more special happens as well.
Gerie Bledsoe, the La Carrera Panamericana North American Director, who leads the Coyote Convoy to San Miguel each year has a special place in his heart for the people of Mexico. He tells of small children coming up to get autographs, babies being photographed sitting in the driver’s seat of a race car and hundreds of people waving as the cars go roaring by.
He describes his commitment to helping children and families this way, “When we come here to race, all of us are touched by the faces of children we see as we travel across Mexico. People are so kind and warm and we just want to do something to give back to a country that is so welcoming to all of us.”
It is almost impossible for this need to give back to not rub off on other La Carrera members who in turn help make the same commitment in whatever way they can.
The Concurso de Motor Sports San Miguel de Allende is a result of this commitment. All of the profits from the events in San Miguel, from October 17-19, will all go to help children and families in need through the work of two exceptional nonprofit organizations located in San Miguel. One of the beneficiaries is CASA and the other is CASITA LINDA.
For those first time La Carrera teams who would like to help be part of this "giving back commitment" simply write either myself or Gerie Blesdoe to see how YOU can help. Don't panic... we all know that getting here was a big hit on the pocket book to begin with but you will be amazed how far a small donation can go. Many of us teams went to Walmart and picked up a few cases of paper or pens and pencils and while you might think that's not much... it was huge from their perspective. Ask Gerie how you can help by clicking here.
And while we are speaking of champions.... Giving Back is nothing new for Team California's Best but it is as rewarding and fulfilling for each of us as it was the first time we did anything regardless of how large of small the effort was. Another great champion that will in fact be in attendance at this years Concurso is none other than Hershel McGriff the first man to champion the Great Mexican Race.
While we are talking about Champions, recently Charmagne, our daughter and some of her co-workers made a trip to Mexico with an organization called CLUB DUST to help give back in the best way that they knew how. For Charmagne it was nothing short of life changing and I was proud to see the tears in her eyes as she attempted to tell me how good it feels to help others that have so little. It is equally rewarding when I see that my daughter and son have learned the values that have been passed down from my parents and their parents before them. The photos below pretty much sum up what Charmagne and her friends did while in Mexico and some of her experiences.
Charmagne and some of her new found friends in Mexico.
Charmagne and more new friends.
These are some of the homes that are to be replaced with new ones.
Charmagne and Co-Worker painting a new home.
A new family having fun helping to paint their new home and faces.
Charmagne and friends organizing and sorting shoes and clothing before families arrive.
Before anyone gets new shoes Charmagne and her friends washed their feet.
Making sure everyone gets a nice pair of shoes.
Sorting out healthy food to be divided up amongst the lovely families.
These are just some of the families many of whom walked miles to get in line in hopes of getting clothing and food their young children needed.
This young mother walked and carried her three children over 10 miles just to get there.
One day (or should I say in 15 minutes) Charmagne is taught how to cut hair.
WHOOPS! Charmagne grits her teeth hoping nobody would notice how close it was. But when all was said and done everyone including the young boy had a good laugh.
Finally a happy customer! Charmagne ask, "How do you say "NEXT" is Spanish?
Another new home for a lucky family. It's so wonderful to be part of these adventures especially when you see the humble smiles in each set of eyes and then we begin to realize how much we take for granted. It's also important to realize, these people are not the type that are used to asking anyone for anything. Pride... to see it first hand is priceless.
Hey, what's this? Possibly a future La Carrera Panamericana Champion?