November 9, 2012

Steve Solloway: NASCAR recognizes not-so-ordinary guy from Windham

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Ron Eby, owner of a Windham auto repair shop and a major fundraiser for Camp Sunshine, is one of four national finalists for NASCAR’s Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award.

John Patriquin/ Staff Photographer

Eby's daughter survived. He never forgot his anxieties, the feeling of helplessness and the kindness of others.

About six weeks ago, Eby was a guest of NASCAR at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Sylvania 300. He attended the drivers' meeting and met Mike Helton, NASCAR's president, who patted him on the back.

He was introduced to the crowd of 100,000 before the race and gave them a thumbs-up. He watched the race from driver Clint Bowyer's pitbox. Bowyer drives for owner Michael Waltrip who has NAPA Auto Parts sponsorship. Eby has gone to NAPA in Maine for his fundraising for Camp Sunshine.

So he had to forget for the day that he's a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan. So what.

Last month, other Windham businesses put Eby's name on their marquees, urging people to vote for him. Many have joined with him in supporting Camp Sunshine.

On Nov. 30, Eby and a Camp Sunshine family from Texas will be at the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards banquet at a Las Vegas hotel. Betty Jane France, mother of Brian France, NASCAR's CEO, will announce the winner who gets $100,000 for his or her cause. The other three each get $25,000. Each receive a 2013 Toyota Camry Hybrid.

"I tell people to read what the other three have done before they vote. I can't wait to meet the others.

"We were winners when we were chosen. We're able to make an impact on so many people. Families depend on us. We need to leave huge footprints for others to follow."

Voting ends at midnight, Nov. 29. Go to NASCAR.com/award.

Staff Writer Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at:

ssolloway@pressherald.com

Twitter: SteveSolloway

 

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