HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — The Gary Sinise Foundation (GSF) has $1.5 million more to benefit military service men and women, veterans, first responders and their families, thanks to American Tire Distributors (ATD) Inc.
The wholesale distributor presented a giant check for that amount to GSF at the second annual Gala for Heroes, held Oct. 16 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. The gala featured a performance by the Lt. Dan Band as well as appearances from Josh Berry and Kelley Earnhardt Miller, and an auction benefiting GSF.
ATD President and CEO Stuart Schuette said that extending fundraising to include customers, manufacturers, partners, and associates bolstered this year's amount from ATD.
"Supporting our nation's heroes is a cause that is close to the heart of our organization and inviting our larger community to join in and see what we could do collectively is truly inspiring," Schuette said.
The increased fundraising goal was part ATD's "Summer for Heroes Giving Campaign" that ran June 1 to Aug. 31 and included ATD associates, its subsidiary Tire Pros and their dealers and associates, as well as tire manufacturers, vendor partners and customers.
GSF has served as ATD's primary brand cause since 2019. According to ATD, this year's donation will benefit three critical programs, including Relief & Resiliency, First Responders Outreach, R.I.S.E, and Mental Wellness initiatives that help service members and first responders overcome post-traumatic stress and regain independence.
Actor and philanthropist Gary Sinise lauded ATD and others who donate, saying it gives the foundation "the ability to truly transform the lives of those who made sacrifices for our country. We are so grateful to everyone at ATD and look forward to what we will accomplish in future to support many more of our deserving heroes and their families."
To raise awareness this year, Tire Pros driver Josh Berry participated in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the Wawa 250 Powered by Coca-Cola with custom-wrapped 'Summer for Heroes' panel on his No. 8 Chevrolet. In addition, a 5K for Heroes fundraiser was held Sept. 10 and an Golf Classic took place recently.
ATD also raised donations through an internal Partner for Heroes program, which encouraged Tire Pros dealers around the country as well as their customers to contribute directly for the first time ever.
"I've seen firsthand the impact that the Gary Sinise Foundation has on our nation's heroes," Schuette said. "Military service men and women, veterans and first responders, as well as their families, have sacrificed so much for our freedom, and while we can never do enough, my hope is this donation helps promote their recovery."