Freedom Behind the Wheel, Getting Veterans Back on Track!

Freedom Behind the Wheel, Getting Veterans Back on Track!

For veterans returning home from the war, it can be a difficult to adjust to activities that they used to enjoy. Racing a car can be one of them if a veteran happens to sustain injuries that makes them paraplegic. That's where the great people behind Freedom Behind the Wheel come in.

Started by Ryan Downey and his father Brian Downey the non-profit organization aims to get troops back on track, literally. Freedom Behind the Wheel operates a safe and secure environment where paraplegic veterans can utilize specially built and custom hand-controls for precision race car driving.

Ryan got the idea to start Freedom Behind the Wheel when while assisting a paraplegic veteran in the art of Drifting. He saw that there was a big gap in what was being offered in race cars and vehicles at the time, so him and his dad decided to use their racing experience and vast technical knowledge to build and fabricate something better. The result is a highly modified race cars with specially built hand controls that the Downey's and volunteers put a lot of heart and soul into.

The Downey's have a strong racing and mechanical background and it shows through their passion for helping veterans with Freedom Behind the Wheel. Ryan is a graduate of Ohio Technical College and and grew up working in his father's auto repair shops. Ryan has always loved the mechanical aspect of cars but has always been more interested in designing and fabricating new and innovative vehicles. This lead him to participate in the division Championship at Drift Nirvana, and win.

Brian has over 35-years of experience working on cars and is ASE-Certified. In that time he has managed two successful auto repair shops. Brian has also participated in Endurance Auto Crossing, Drag Racing, Drifting, and many other forms of Road Racing. He was won numerous titles and even placed in the Sports Car Club of America's (SCCA) National Runoffs several times. He has also worked as a racing instructor at many different tracks and race car events.

Both Ryan and Brian are now helping instruct and get veterans “back on the track” and enjoy racing activities and are happy to do so. Freedom Behind the Wheel offers programs in Drifting, Auto Cross, Drag Racing and various forms of motor sports.

For those of use who want to experience the feeling of using the Downey's custom hand controls, without the worrying of wrekcing a car, you are in luck. At the shop they have a virtual simulator so you can test out what it feels like to drive a car using only your hands. It looks a lot like playing Gran Turismo only more modified and there are 3 screens. I tried the virtual race simulator at the Washington Auto Show last year and it was quite fun. I thought I was not that good at using the custom hand controls but I was assued, “No, you are actually pretty good at it!” At least I know I can drive a race car with only my hands, which might come in handy someday.

Freedom Behind the Wheel received a substantial tool donation from Cornwell Tools in the form of tool and toolboxes which helps maintain the vehicles and keep the program running.

With the Downey's help paraplegic veterans can now regain their Freedom Behind the Wheel and enjoy life without limits. To find out more about the program visit their Facebook page.

Celebrate Veterans Day with 45% Off at Standard Auto Parts

I hope most people are enjoying Veteran's Day today.  If you are a veteran or in the military currently please know I appreciate your service and what you have done or currently are doing for America.  As well I am sure that lots of other people appreciate your service even if they don't say it everyday.

For Veterans Day I thought I would just let all veterans and military members know that Standard Auto Parts, a local and family own Baltimore auto parts company, offers 40% off on auto part purchases.  Standard offers these discounts as a “Thank You” for everything veterans and the military does.  (This includes helping people recently in Hurricane Sandy.)  In case you were wondering, yes the discount is valid even when it's not Veterans Day.

An important note, not all auto parts not have as great a discount as 40% off and it doesn't apply to fluids to my understanding.  However 40% off is extremely generous considering that I don't know any other auto parts company in the Baltimore area that can match this deal.  Standard Auto Parts also extends the generous discount to police, firefighters, and postal workers.

Standard is a company that especially appreciates service and they want to show that by offering great deals on auto parts.  To find your nearest Standard Auto Parts location in Baltimore, visit their Standard Auto Parts website.

 

Washington Auto Show Admits Veterans & Military Members for Free – January 31st

Washington Auto Show - Lexus LF-LC Concept

The Washington Auto Show is holding Military Day tomorrow, January 31st, 2012.  This is good news if you are a member of the military or a proud veteran who served our country, because you will be admitted to the Washington Auto Show for Free!  All you have to do is show a valid military ID, or DD214 (discharge papers) and photo ID to get Free Admission to the wonderful auto show.

JR Martinez, who won Dancing With The Stars, will be in attendance as well WWE legend Sgt. Slaughter (who actually served as a Marine.)  The US Army Downrange band will play the Washington Auto Show's “Welcome Home Troops.”  The USA Cheerleaders will be performing to show their support for our military as well.