The Story Behind the Rally4Vets
My name is Robert Hess. I’m an Army veteran and a PTSD survivor. It took me twenty years and the VA PTSD evaluation process to beat it. I’m fortunate because I did come to grips with my experiences. But many veterans aren’t so lucky.
Over 6,000 veterans and active duty personnel take their own lives every year – that’s 20 lives every day. Almost one veteran lost every hour of every day.
These losses are both tragic and preventable.
The critical first step in reducing veteran suicide is educating the extended veteran community about the early warning signs: such as depression and social isolation.
The Rally4Vets program offers an opportunity for the motorsports enthusiast community to help reduce veteran suicides by raising the awareness level about veteran suicide and resources available to veterans dealing with PTSD. The program supports the mission of the Disabled Veteran Empowerment Network – DVEN.org.
Summit Point Raceway. We held our first Rally4Vets on October 10, 2021, at Summit Point Raceway, West Virginia. Use a TrackCross/Track Sprint format that allows experienced drivers and novices to compete on an equal footing for class Top Dog™ honors and for points toward the rotating overall Top Dog Championship Trophy. Spoiler – Army won!
Our five-year goal with Rally4Vets™ is three regional competitions with the final event somewhere on the East Coast. The 2022 final event will again be in October at Summit Point Raceway. We’re also working on a Memorial Day competition at either Buttonwillow or Willow Springs raceways in California. We will be posting the dates on our events calendar.
Why is this an Inter-Service Event?
Ah, I’m so glad you asked! The Department of Defense conducts inter-Service sports competition in 23 sports, from archery to wrestling, but not in motorsports. The Rally4Vets Top Dog Championship program is the opportunity for veterans, active-duty personnel, family members, and just friends of a Service to come together in a friendly, low-risk environment to compete over the course of the year for bragging rights [Army-Navy football, right?] and to have their Service inscribed on the DVEN Top Dog Trophy.
Who Can Participate?
Anyone can be part of these events: veterans, including National Guard and Reserves; active-duty personnel, family members, and enthusiasts who want to support the military/veteran community.
Plans for the Future
We know not every motorsports enthusiast likes driving on the track. So, we’re planning a series of local fun runs, ending at a nice dinner location so you can take your significant other if you like. Do you have a special route you would like to share with the Rally4Vets community? Perhaps something like the Tail of the Dragon? Send us a link and we’ll put it on our list of future events. Ideally, with a local media representative ride-along to generate media attention on veteran suicide. By the way, Pikes Peak is on my list!
Interested? Complete the form below to join our “no spam ever or we treat you and your significant other to dinner” event information list.
We look forward to meeting you at one of our programs helping veterans beat their PTSD.
US Army (R)
American Legion Post 43
VFW Post 2828
DAV California Chapter