to turn race hauler into hurricane relief supplier
By Brian Liskai
ATTICA, Ohio (Sept. 14, 2005) -The sleek, 48-foot black trailer contains
Brandon Martin’s hopes and dreams. But in another two weeks, it will house
a glimmer of hope for the people struggling to rebuild from Hurricane Katrina.
From April through October, the trailer houses a 1,300-pound, 850 horsepower
sprint car that Martin, 22, of St. Rt. 4, Attica, races on the dirt tracks
across the Midwest.
However, when Martin saw the destruction of the hurricane that struck
the Gulf Coast nearly three weeks ago, he knew he had to use his blessings
to help others.
“When I saw everything on the news...how those people had nothing left,
I thought it would be nice to load up the trailer and go help,” said Martin
from his race shop located just north of Attica at his parents’ (John and
Deb Martin) house. “At that time we were gearing up to go racing in Indiana,
so I kind of blocked it out of my mind for awhile. But when we got home,
my parents and I and my girlfriend started talking about doing something
and we met with all the guys on the team and they agreed we would go help.”
The idea is to load up the race hauler with supplies and transport them
to a small town affected by Katrina. They chose Pass Christian, Miss.,
a town of nearly 7,000.
“There’s no public buildings left there...it’s right on the coast (just
west of Biloxi and east of New Orleans, La.). We heard that 95 percent
of all the town’s buildings were destroyed,” said Martin.
“We checked it out, and they have a race track near there. So we’re
hoping to make this one racing community helping another,” added Martin,
who finished eighth in the season point standings at Fremont Speedway,
10th in the Attica Raceway Park points, and sixth in the Mid-American Sprint
Series, which held races in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan.
The plan is to collect items like paper towels, toilet paper, personal
hygiene products, baby food/diapers, garbage bags, tarps and ropes, flash
lights and batteries, cleaning supplies, non-perishable food items, new
clothing and bedding, etc. Martin hopes to fill his trailer and leave for
Mississippi on Sept. 28.
“There’s not much time and a lot of space to fill so we’re reaching
out to not only the racing community but the area towns for help,” said
Danette Brown, Martin’s girlfriend.
“Bottled water is also needed, but weight limitations on the truck allow
only a restricted amount of heavy items, so please be aware of this when
purchasing donations,” she added.
Of course, Martin is also accepting monetary donations to purchase the
needed items and to help pay for fuel for the trip.
An account has been set up at the Sutton Bank in Attica, where checks
can be made out to “Katrina Relief Fund.”
Also, drop-off locations for donations have been set up at the East
of Chicago Pizza and Sweetums Flower and Gift Shoppe in Attica; Gildenmeister
Dodge, St. Rt. 269 N., Bellevue; Aichholz Service Station in Republic;
Burns Electric in Tiffin; Crystal Clean Carwash, E. State St., Fremont;
and East of Chicago Pizza and Coks Laundry Basket, U.S. 224, Willard.
Also, on Monday, Sept. 19, Martin will have his race car and trailer
at Fort Ball Pizza Palace, W. State St., Fremont, where those wishing to
help the hurricane relief effort can drop off supplies. The race team will
be there during the Last Lap Radio Show, broadcast on Eagle 99.1 FM from
“Because it will take a few days to organize everything in the trailer,
we are asking all donations be made by Sept. 25,” said Martin.
Martin said his race team sponsors have been a big help in the relief
“R&S Diversified Contracting, Gildenmeister Dodge, Myers & Smith
Insurance, Level Performance, Bores Manufacturing, Martin Excavating, Eitle
Machine, Burns Electric, Making Waves, Performing Edge Chiropractic, Decker’s
Furniture, Custom Chrome Plating, JET Designs, Attica Raceway Park, Greg
Martin Auctioneer, 436-NAPA and Cub Cadet have all supported my racing
career and really stepped up on this relief project,” Martin said.
“This has been a lot of hard work...I have to give Danette a lot of
credit, she is a lot better at organization than I am. But, I know when
we get down there and see the faces of the people we’re helping, it will
all be worth it,” Martin continued.
Brown said she has been in contact with a police officer from Pass Christian,
who has promised an escort to a relief center when the Attica group gets
“When I explained to him what we were doing, you could hear him get
emotional on the phone,” she said.
The group plans to video and take photos of the drop-off in Mississippi
to show those who have donated how their sacrifice has helped brighten
the lives of others.
“We would like to show a video and have pictures available at the track
banquets later this fall,” said Martin.
For more information on the Katrina Relief Effort, contact Deb Martin
at 419-426-6803; Danette Brown at 419-681-1942; or Michelle Boring at 419-426-1400,
or email at: BoundFor Mississippi@yahoo.com