LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The checkered flag goes to Down Syndrome of Louisville. The organization is the winner of the $100,000 NASCAR Foundation's Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award.
The Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award is presented annually to a local NASCAR volunteer and fan who devotes their time to children's causes.
Jeff Harmon, a volunteer with Down Syndrome of Louisville (DSL), is not only a volunteer and fan but also a race car driver. He grew up racing modified stock cars and shares the love of the sport with his own family. His all-time favorite driver is Darrell Waltrip
Harmon helps with fundraising, mentoring members and their families, and volunteering at events. His 19-year-old son has been with DSL since birth and he told Spectrum News 1, “I’ll help anytime they need a dad around. I like to talk to other dads of new parents,”
After winning Harmon said, “I’m so excited and humbled to win this award. The other three finalists were all deserving as well, I’m blessed, what an honor. The $100,000 will go a long way in helping Down Syndrome of Louisville grow and expand to help even more kids. Thank you to The NASCAR Foundation and all who voted!”
In a news release, DSL said the $100,000 will help the organization with its efforts to support, educate and advocate for children with Down syndrome. DSL won based on online voting with started Oct. 14 and wrapped up on Nov. 12. When Spectrum News 1 spoke with Carly Riggs, executive director of DSL before the announcement, she told us they were going to use the money specifically to install a shade structure for its playground. If they won the entire prize Riggs said they would expand DSL in Kentucky with satellite locations.
The Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award is named after the NASCAR Foundation's late founder and chairperson. Since the award's inception 11 years ago, the foundation has given out $1.8 million to charities representing 40 finalists and helping more than 350,000 children in need.