JR Hildebrand has helped to raise “over $2 million” for the Homes For Our Troops charity with his run to 12th in the Indianapolis 500 with AJ Foyt Racing this year.
AJ Foyt Racing’s relationship with sponsor ABC Supply – a roofing materials company from Wisconsin – stretches back over 18 years and often places causes and special events over the prominence of its livery on the car.
This year, the Homes For Our Troops charity – which helps severely injured post-911 military personnel with custom homes for their needs – was celebrated with a US flag livery.
“Homes for our troops is a foundation that basically goes out and they’re building homes on behalf of injured veterans,” The Race IndyCar Podcast host JR Hildebrand says.
“And so there’s a long list of veterans already in line to get these homes, but it’s really cool. It’s not just going in and retrofitting an existing house or something, it’s literally from scratch, building new homes that are totally spec-d specific to that particular person’s needs.
“I think the thing that’s especially cool about this organisation, getting to learn a little bit more about them and dig into exactly what it is that they do, is that they’re supporting these folks and their families really from start to finish.
“So it’s not just the home, its financial planning, family planning, the nitty-gritty of insurance and all the rest of the stuff that kind of factors into how to give these folks that have served our country and whether they’ve been injured in the line of duty or whatever the case may be, you know, really giving them everything that they need to have a fresh start after life in the military.”
ABC Supply originally offered to match donations up to $1 million made between May 21-May 30, so during practice, qualifying and the Indianapolis 500 itself, but then extended that to the whole Month of May.
It was an especially hard-hitting campaign as the Indy 500 takes place on the weekend of Memorial Day which helps honour those who have served and given their lives while serving in the US military.
Hildebrand said he’s lucky to have been able to race representing the military on so many occasions.
“As an American racing in the Indianapolis 500 on Memorial Day weekend, it’s very cool to be able to do.
“I’ve been fortunate, the teams that I’ve raced for, the sponsors that I’ve had have, frankly, for my entire IndyCar career, even after being at the National Guard, been close to a lot of organisations that work with the military or that have close ties with the military.”
Hildebrand did incredibly well to finish 12th in the 500. He started 17th and chose to short-stop but almost every single caution that came in the first two-thirds of the race worked against his strategy, before a string second half of the race allowed him to come through for his best finish in the race since 2016.
“First off, there’s huge credit due to ABC Supply for not only putting this together in the first place by donating their sponsorship with the team to Homes for our Troops, but for working so hard to get the public donations all the way to $1M before matching it with their $1M pledge,” Hildebrand added.
“Second, I have to say that it felt good to be a part of something that unquestionably moved the needle. There’s always talk about “using your platform” in sports, but it doesn’t always extend beyond a few social posts. For me, this was a great example of a team and a partner committing to a plan that really accomplished something. And I’m proud to have played a small part in it.”
You can hear his description below.
You can find out more about Homes For Our Troops here.