We have been talking about relationships, relating and building community. I wanted to share one of the truly inspiring stories of this past race season with you. RWJM has played an important role in delivering a blessing to one of our racing community members. We are thankful for those who provided the blessing. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The racing community is a pretty close-knit family and many times we come together to help one another. Sometimes though we don’t know the true needs of someone until it is brought to our attention. For the past few years a member of our community struggled to figure out how he could continue to be a part of the racing scene. He is wheelchair bound and his van was in need of replacement. The cost was staggering, especially considering his condition limited his ability to secure the resources needed.
Rick Raducha, you know the smiling guy in the wheelchair, has been a fixture at race tracks up and down the East Coast for many years. He also has been instrumental in securing sponsorship for many racers through his company Driver Connection. If you have never seen Rick in person you wouldn’t even know of his condition. He is not one to let his condition limit his ability to be a contributing member of society and the racing community. Osteogenesis Imperfecta, Brittle Bone Disease, has rendered his body into a twisted resemblance of what it should be. He has accomplished much more than many thought he could.
You can imagine the weight on his shoulders as he tried to figure out how he could replace his van. With much encouragement he shared his need with the racing community unsure if there might be enough help to replace his wheels. Many came forward, a little bit here and a little bit there. He saw the funds multiply and it allowed him to dream that it might just be possible. When enough funds were available he ordered a van and started the process of getting all the special equipment on order that would allow him to drive it.
The 2018 season started and there was a gap that needed to be filled. This is where friends came in. A Modified owner with a big heart decided to take a leading role in getting the final piece of funding in place to make Rick’s van a reality. True to his word he delivered the funding needed to pay the final invoices and Rick took delivery of his van in late October. This wouldn’t be possible without a little help from his friends!
Let me take a moment and share a little. We are created in such a way that if we are truly living, it involves being connected with others. A give and take is necessary. True fulfilment and satisfaction comes when we share our resources to meet the needs of others. There are those who see and meet the needs and unfortunately there are those who don’t. There are some that say they want to help and those that help. We need to rise up and move beyond ourselves. We need to not only be touched by the needs of others but actually do something about it. I encourage you to follow through on your words and actually do something.
Throughout this process many had the opportunity to spread the cost out so that the burden didn’t fall on a few. Some even made commitments to help. In the end there wasn’t enough. What could have been a celebration for the entire racing community fell to a few. I am thankful to those who followed through with their commitment and made this a reality for Rick. I am reminded of the passage from God’s Word;
2 Corinthians 8:10-15, (NLT); Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago. Last year you were the first who wanted to give, and you were the first to begin doing it. Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have. Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have. Of course, I don’t mean your giving should make life easy for others and hard for yourselves. I only mean that there should be some equality. Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal. As the Scriptures say,
“Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over,
and those who gathered only a little had enough.”
We need to remember that life is worth living when we help those around us who are in need. That is how we build community. We lose so much when we focus our lives on ourselves. The end product of self-centered living is a vacancy in our hearts. We may have many things but there is still a void. We need to spend our lives filling the lives of others, only then will we be satisfied and fulfilled. Giving is more blessed than receiving.
There are so many individuals and companies that made this a reality. Take a look at the list that adorns the back window of
Rick’s new van, it lists the names of those who gave so generously. Underneath it the quote from a Beatles song, “With a little help from my friends”. The song reminds us that we will get by with a little help from our friends. Here are a few friends that had a big part in making this a reality.
First and foremost; Grandpa Blewett was instrumental in getting this over the finish line. I talked with him about why he felt so strongly about it. He said it is the right thing to do. He commented more than once about the smile Rick always has on his face. He would ask me “What does he have to smile about?” He wondered out loud many times how inspiring Rick, his smile and laugh were. What’s he got to be so happy about? I think the answer lies in the choice Rick made not to let his condition limit him.
This past weekend Rick visited Wall Stadium for part of the Turkey Derby. Although the cold was painful for a person with his condition he wanted to say thank you in person to Grandpa and the Blewett family. Rick has shared with me the overwhelming appreciation he has for everyone who made this a reality. He is overcome with the generosity of others. His heart is full of emotion and thankgiving.
We also need to recognize Valenti Ford in Mystic CT for getting the van spected out, ordered and delivered. They also helped get the van up to the next company w want to thank, Advanced Wheels, mobility for everyone, in Granby CT. They met the challenge of outfitting the van with a lift, driver’s seat and hand controls customized for Rick. As I understand it this was the first time that a van of this type was outfitted with the specialized equipment that folks like Rick need. As anyone who has every built anything the first time that presents all kinds of new challenges to overcome. Between the two they were able to figure it out and get the van equipped.
What would Rapid Rick’s Race Car Red Rocket Ship be without a little customizing? Don Derosier and the team at Connecticut Tire outfitted it with some sweet new wheels. Our friend Shawn Monahan and his team at Critical Signs provided the vinyl to say thank you to all those who had a part in bringing this from need to reality. Whelen Engineering put the icing on the cake, emergency lighting. Whelen added flashing yellow lights when the lift is in operation, ground lighting around the van, and lighting to illuminate the lift for safety. Rick now has a state of the art, safe van to travel in for the next 20+ years.
Last weekend he headed south in his new van to the warmth of Florida. A stop in Jersey at Wall Stadium to meet the Blewett’s then off to Charlotte and Florida. We want to send our best to Rick and a sincere thank you to all who contributed to making this amazing gift a reality. I am thankful for those who cared enough about Rick to make this happen.
Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.