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thedrifter
06-28-08, 12:31 PM
Mahoning Valley Speedway
Friday, June 27, 2008
Marines Helping Marines

Infinity Racing

LEHIGHTON, Pa. -- Mahoning Valley Speedway (MVS) late model driver, Kristian Kalch, was spotted at the MVS spectator gate Saturday, June 21st waiting to do an interview for Blue Ridge Cable’s Channel 13 News on the organization named Marines Helping Marines (MHM). Joining him were his parents, Erich and Jamie, Marine Corps League’s Ted Bienkowski, crew members from the Kalch’s Infinity Racing team, and, of course, his beautiful and very powerful 650HP late model Ford Fusion.

“We have a gorgeous tool represented by that car. People usually become interested when they see a racecar. It’s a great way to bring attention to Marines Helping Marines,” Jamie said, referring to the method chosen to advertise for MHM.

On Friday, July 4th, the Kalch’s and everyone involved will head a fundraiser entitled “Racing to Recovery” to benefit the MHM organization at MVS. Members of the Marine Corps will be present to perform the opening ceremonies, country singer Donna Parsons will sing the National Anthem, there will be raffles and fireworks, and racing starts at 7pm.

When asked why he chose to help MHM, 16-year-old Kristian replied, “These soldiers have done so much for us [as a nation], I think it’s just the right thing to do”.

“And it’s not just me and my team helping out,” Kristian said, “the drivers at Mahoning and the track [personnel] are in on this too.” In fact, influential people at the track suggested using the 4th of July as the date to hold such a special fundraiser.

“Not only will there be fireworks in honor of Independence Day, the track will be packed with fans and patrons, providing a bigger outlet for word to get out about Marines Helping Marines,” Jamie said. “The most important thing is that the people know about Marines Helping Marines because this organization does so much for those whose lives have changed permanently in honor of our nation.”

The Kalch’s have also set up fundraisers at two other key locations, the first of which will be at the Lehigh Valley Quarter Midget Racing Club, Gate 5 at Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, PA on Friday, August 1st starting at 6pm.

“It’ll be great coming back to Lehigh Valley Quarter Midgets,” said Kristian. “I started racing here 10 years ago. The kids racing there now can see me and say ‘He started here. If he can do this, so can I.’”.

The second event location will be on Sunday, August 24th at the West End Quarter Midget Racing Club, West End Fair Grounds, Brodheadsville, PA starting at 11am. Efforts at both quarter midget tracks will include a flag ceremony performed by the Marines, raffles, Kristian’s late model on display, proudly wearing MHM logos on its doors, and goodies for the kids.

Marines Helping Marines was founded in 2003 to aid injured soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Not only do they provide for the soldiers at the several military hospitals located throughout the United States, they prevent the families of the injured from slipping into financial crisis. The 65,000-strong league has 900 detachments across the country. Each detachment is charged with assisting Marines Helping Marines. According to Ted Bienkowski and organizational literature, MHM started in Washington D.C.’s Walter Reed Hospital and has spread to San Diego’s Balboa Naval Hospital, San Antonio’s Brooke Army Hospital and Wounded Warrior Regiments at Camps Pendleton and LeJeune.

Infinity Racing’s efforts boost Schuylkill-Carbon Detachment 626’s year-round campaign. The detachment’s Web site includes several donation drives among the area’s churches and businesses. Infinity Racing has set up several donation locations throughout the Poconos, including one at Ken’s P.D.Q. Lube & Service Center, Route 611, Tannersville, PA. Donations will be taken until the end of the summer.

Visit kristiankalch.com or call 570-620-9863 for Infinity Racing details. Ted Bienkowski and Detachment 626 can be reached by email at tedb@ptd.net or at 570-645-9535, and for more information regarding Marines Helping Marines, please visit marineshelpingmarines.org.

Ellie

thedrifter
06-28-08, 12:37 PM
Tannersville teen racing to help Marines
By Matt Langan
Record Sports Writer
June 28, 2008 6:00 AM

Kristian Kalch first sat behind the wheel of a competitive race car when he was 7 years old.

After making his way up the racing food chain, Kalch was in command of a 650-horsepower Ford Fusion before he had his learner's permit.

Kalch, 16, of Tannersville, races a regular schedule at Mahoning Valley Speedway in Lehighton. In 2007, Kalch and the speedway collected numerous barrels of toys and raised a total of $3,900 for Toys for Tots.

After being named 2007 Rookie of the Year at Mahoning Valley Speedway, Kalch has bigger racing aspirations and a different logo on the hood of his Ford this year.

He has teamed up with the speedway and its drivers to raise awareness and collect donations for Marines Helping Marines, a non-profit organization that provides services for severely injured military personnel in hospitals throughout the United States. The organization also helps alleviate the financial burden suffered by the soldiers' families.

"We always stand by the motto that Marines take care of their own," said Ron Short, retired Marine and national director of MHM.

Short and the Marine Corps League, which is made up of former and active duty Marines, started this organization five years ago and found the need for help when more injured soldiers started coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Department of Defense pays for the soldiers' immediate family to be flown to Bethesda, Md., or one of the other military hospitals. MHM picks up the tab on extra family members and pays for hotel rooms and living expenses so that the soldiers can be with their loved ones.

"Anything these young men need, we'll give it to them," said Short. "We buy them DVD players, televisions, X-Boxes and stuff like that as well. They might be big, badass Marines, but they're still kids at heart."

MHM's members strive to do what they can to take the injured soldiers' minds off their injuries.

"We also pick up the bill for cookouts, fishing trips, Redskins and Orioles games, and other outings," Short said.

There will be three fundraising events that Kalch has arranged, including a July 4 race at Mahoning Valley Speedway. The festivities include a raffle and fireworks. The event kicks off at 7 p.m. and there will be Marine Corps representatives collecting donations.

The first 1,000 people through the door will receive a free ticket for the ARCA race on Saturday, Aug. 9, at Pocono Raceway. There will also be a special performance by country music recording artist Donna Parsons.

Kalch's second event will be a car display during Pennsylvania 500 weekend. The event will be held at the Lehigh Valley Quarter Midget Racing Club, located at Gate 5 of Pocono Raceway on Friday, Aug. 8 at 6 p.m.

The third event will be held during the West End Fair on Aug. 24 at 11 a.m.

Kalch is proud to be able to bring some much needed recognition to a viable cause.

"I found the organization on a Web site," Kalch said. "We do charities a lot and we worked with the Marines last year. They appreciate what we do."

Donations can also be made at Ken's PDQ Lube and Service Center in Tannersville. Ken's is taking donations until the end of August.

Main Street Jukebox in Stroudsburg also made a generous contribution by donating 2,000 compact discs to injured Marines. For more information or to donate online, go to www.marineshelpingmarines.org.

Ellie