Sprint driver wants
to create "checkered flag" Christmas for less fortunate
By Brian Liskai
BELLEVUE, Ohio (Nov. 12, 2004) - Keith Whaley knows what it’s like not
to have enough food or clothing. He knows what it’s like to go through
the holidays without enough money for presents. So, he wants to make sure
other area families don’t have to experience those feeling this Christmas.
Whaley, of Bellevue, is once again spearheading a drive to raise funds
for food and presents for area families. An 18-year sprint car racing veteran,
Whaley got the idea of a “checkered flag” Christmas last year.
“I got to remembering all the people who helped and supported me throughout
my racing career. So many people have given me so much. I also knew what
it was like to struggle to put food on the table,” said Whaley. “So, I
started thinking of ways I could give something back. I threw out the idea
on the Internet of the racing community helping one family that was less
fortunate last Christmas and the response was overwhelming. It grew so
fast... I had hundreds of phone calls and emails and we raised enough food
and money to feed four families and provide $250 worth of gifts for the
Whaley said two families from Bellevue and two from Fremont were helped
through the racing community.
“When I delivered last year it was snowing...I felt like Santa. We helped
one lady who had three kids. When I dropped off the presents and four boxes
of food, she burst into tears. It really makes you feel good to help someone
like that,” said Whaley.
“There was one disabled lady whose husband had died and her 18-year-old
daughter was working full-time and going to school just so they could survive,”
Whaley continued. “You don’t realize how good you have it until you do
something like this.”
“I know what it’s like to need help. As long as I live I will return
the favor as much as I can,” Whaley added.
Whaley said he checked with churches in the area to find out what families
could use some holiday help.
“We’d like to feed five or more families this year and provide at least
$300 worth of gifts,” said Whaley, who is being helped in the drive by
his wife, and his brother Mark, who also races sprint cars. “I know we
won’t have any problem meeting this goal. The local racing community is
such a caring group. They never hesitate when it comes to helping those
Despite currently being unemployed, and not having a sprint car ride
for next season, Whaley said he still feels blessed and wants to share
that feeling with others.
“I have a great family and a lot of wonderful friends. I want those
less fortunate to know others care about them,” said Whaley. “I know I’ll
get another job and I know I can drive a sprint car, so it will all work
Whaley said he will take money or donations of food items. He can be
reached at 419-483-0810 for information on how to donate. He is setting
a deadline of Dec. 18, so he and his family have time to put the care packages
“Everything we get goes out to needy families...we don’t keep anything,”
said Whaley. “You just can’t imagine the feeling you get when you see how
something as simple as a box of food and some gifts effects a family.”