The red, white and blue Chevrolet is driven by racer Landon Cassill, who has partnered with Richmond International Raceway and the Veterans Affairs Department’s Post-9/11 GI Bill in order to raise awareness about of the benefits offered by the GI Bill.
“[We want] to get exposure to the veterans that do not know this money exists,” said Rusty Loggins, Representative for TRG Motorsports.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill offers financial support to those who served at least 90 days on or after Sept. 11, 2001. Eligible service members are eNASCAR pairs with Veterans Affairs to promote GI billntitled to tuition and fees for 36 months, a monthly housing allowance and an annual stipend of $1,000 for books and supplies.
Loggins also said many of veterans — not just at VCU — are unaware of the GI Bill’s benefits. Thirty percent of veterans do not understand whether or not they are even eligible for the bill, according to statistics provided by Jenn Ohs, production manager for the Post-9/11 GI Bill Campaign.
For many, participating in the campaign is a matter of civic duty.
“Being a civilian, I do not think that I’m necessarily giving back, I’m just doing what is expected of me,” said Kazonga Singleton, president of VCU’s Student Veteran’s Association.
“It’s one of the ways to honor active and retired military,” said Ruben Rodriguez, associate vice provost of student affairs who is also one of the advisors for the Student Veteran’s Association. “It’s a great honor for me to serve in that capacity and to support events like this. I’m obviously giving back in a small way.”
There is a carefully calculated reason for NASCAR’s choice to proough NASCAR has been going around the country raising awareness of the GI Bill, there is a reason NASCAR is promoting it.
“The correlation with NASCAR is that we found one in three fans has a direct correlation into an active service member or veteran, either they themselves are military or someone in their immediate family,” Ohs said.
Not everyone was excited by the NASCAR cross-promotion. Kazonga Singleton said promotion should be more focused on the bill itself, not the campaign promoting it.
“As a student, you shouldn’t be motivated because of NASCAR, you should be motivated because of the opportunities of the GI and what it can do for you,” Singleton said.