Staff Sgt. Failing served more than 10 years on active duty and served two combat tours. Among his deployments were in Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan and South Korea. This year, Staff Sgt. Failing assisted Boehm and his HPD as mechanic and team assistant at both Circuit of The Americas and Virginia International Raceway.
“Operation Motorsport has given me a different outlook during my transition to healing and recovery,” Staff Sgt. Failing said. “I've felt as if I've been family from day one. The process to recovery and healing may be a short road but with a family like this you'll never be lonely on that road.”
He continued: “This has been a blessing in disguise for me. When I look back to my first day as a beneficiary, I was lost and looking for something that would remind me I wasn't done in life. Working hand-in-hand with everyone associated with Operation Motorsport gives me hope... knowing that I have others like me I can turn to. Even when we're away from the races, we're there for each other.”
Staff Sgt. Babineau served in Iraq and Bahrain, plus National Guard stints in New York and North Carolina. He has participated in multiple Operation Motorsport events this race season as well, working with teams in a variety of series including a 24-hour race earlier this year.
“OpMo’s ability to integrate ill and injured soldiers, and disabled veterans into race teams for racing weekends can’t be replicated,” Staff Sgt. Babineau said. “The hardest thing about being ill, injured or transitioning to being a veteran is the loss of being a member of a team. OpMo gives that team membership back through its partnerships.
“I have pictures, memories, and in my case a checkered flag from an OpMo weekend, and I made a few new friends during a four-day race weekend,” he added. “For me, I felt truly useful and important again. I needed that more than I can explain. It has helped me be a better husband and father as I transition. I’m more motivated to work out, to go out and do things, and generally happier to be alive after the race weekend."
They are two of the many veterans whom Operation Motorsport has helped transition into new careers following their military service. Operation Motorsport is a veteran-led and operated, not-for-profit (US 501(c)(3)) that serves American & Canadian service members and veterans, and was founded on the basis of three simple words: Excite, Engage and Empower.
The premise is to engage ill and injured service members and veterans affected by military service, through motorsport activities and opportunities to aid in their recovery and rehabilitation. Operation Motorsport provides a chance for veterans to use their skill sets in a variety of areas including paddock operations, car and tire prep, marketing, social media and other key areas that are part of a racing program.
“We’re so fortunate to be able to work alongside CrowdStrike Racing and Kevin Boehm this year,” said Tiffany Lodder, Executive Director of Operation Motorsport. “This team is at the right level to introduce our beneficiaries and give them a purpose and an identity. Activating in motorsports brings them back into a team environment that they lost leaving the military.”