As the sun rose Sunday over Rescue Ranch in Statesville, the landscape looked lovely, but the running pathwell, it was downright dirty. And it was also a whole lot of fun; the first of what will be an annual tradition at NASCAR driver Ryan Newman and his wife Krissie’s non-profit animal welfare organization - a spirited mud run benefitting all the creatures at the ranch and the youth-orientededucational programs taught here. “We focus mainly on humane education so we’re rescuing on a fundamental level,” says Rescue Ranch’s E.J. Lewick. “If you can teach the kids young then you have a chance of really making an impact.” But the mud run had another goal too. It also supported a second non-profit called Hope for the Warriors. “Hope for the Warriors was founded at Camp Lejeune in 2008,” explains the group’s Travis Hanson. “We’re a national non-profit organization serving post 9/11 combat wounded service members, their families and the families of the fallen.” WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC
Hanson says joyful, inspired events like today’s can help restore those arriving home after serving our country. “Making that transition back into civilian society is pretty troublesome and pretty hard so we try to give them some ways to where they can find a zero, find balance in themselves and restore their sense of self, restore their sense of hope and their senseof family to move forward,” he says. Lewick says volunteers at the ranch jumped at the chance to get involved. “We have this beautiful just over 87 acres of property that’s mostly undeveloped here,” she says, “and we thought it would be a fun way for us both to enter into the foray of a mud run and see how it goes” It went well. And now all involved hope to see it become a tradition benefiting two groups in need of the community’s support.