Honey Brook’s Ryan Morris has his own racing team, the appropriately named Ryan Morris Racing, but on the night of April 27 at Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway (CMMS) in Newmanstown he was a key reason for everyone being on the same team.
Morris, a sophomore at Twin Valley High School, was the lead organizer for a fundraiser which took place that Saturday evening to benefit the Christ’s Home for Children (CHFC) in Paradise, PA. CHFC is a charitable 501(c)(3) organization founded as a non-denominational Christian ministry whose mission is to serve needy or neglected children and youth by providing a stable, caring home built upon Biblical principles while meeting their educational, medical, emotional and social needs.
About a dozen kids from the home, as well as members of the CHFC staff, we treated as guests of honor at the speedway for the night.
“It was a really joyful event,” said Morris. “The kids had ear-to-ear smiles. I was able to show them my car, the pit, and introduced them to the race team. It was the first time that any of them had a racing experience like this and they told me that they want to come back again.”
The stadium was packed that night, and a small number of the best of the 2000 seats were reserved for the evening’s special guests. In addition to watching the racing, the CHFC kids and staff also witnessed first-hand the good-natured generosity which the racing community is known for, as a combination of donations from fans, businesses, and the Jim and Jane McElya Charitable Foundation raised over $9000 for CHFC. Additionally, there were over 500 cans of food collected for Christ Home.
Before the final race of the night, Morris gave a rousing speech to the crowd while his fellow drivers went into the stands to collect donations in their helmets. He was then joined by the kids and staff of CHFC as he presented the $5000 check from the Jim and Jane McElya Charitable Foundation to CHFC Chief Development Officer Vernon Wright.
“When we brought the kids out for the check presentation everyone was standing and cheering for them,” Morris said. “To see them smile after being cheered on like that was awesome.”
Wright said that he was very impressed with Morris’ maturity.
“He was very engaging with the kids and made them feel welcome and special,” he said. “Throughout the night he would personally come by where we were sitting and check in on them, and we really appreciated that. It was nice to connect with Ryan, Jim and Jane McElya, and all of the others who were so supportive.”
Morris was quick to point out that there were many others besides himself who were responsible for the success of the fundraising and hosting of those from CHFC.
“Jim McElya, he was such a big part of this, he set the baseline in making the whole thing structural so we could accomplish everything we did. We owe a lot to Barry Angstadt (the Media Information Director and Announcer at Clyde Martin) because he was really great at reminding everyone that we had this special night coming up in the weeks leading up to the race. Chris Snyder (of Hyper Racing and a member of the CMMS Board of Directors) and the rest of the board were also a huge help. Plus the Clyde Martin community is great, they are very supportive people and when you tie in something like this there is no doubt that everyone is going to have a good time.”
“It was a beautiful night, and everything completely exceeded our expectations,” said Wright. “We were very pleased to be selected by Ryan.”
Although Morris did not take any the top spots in his races that night, it is sure to be one of his most memorable race nights ever.
“I am happy to know that there is an organization like (CHFC) that can help these kids in need and this seemed like a perfect opportunity to help in my community.” he said.
Visit the Morris Racing website at www.RyanMorrisRacing.com
For information on Christ’s Home for Children go to www.christshomeforchildren.com
To find out more about Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway/Lanco visit www.lancomicrosprint.com