Donation from NASCAR driver in fast lane to Carroll students

By Allen Worrell

April 17, 2014

The fruits of a $4,000 donation by NASCAR driver Morgan Shepherd will soon be realized by many elementary school students in Carroll County.

Shepherd, who in 2013 became the oldest person ever to start a NASCAR race at the age of 71, recently met with Carroll County Sheriff J.B. Gardner about making a donation to a group not already served by a fund raising drive. The two met in Galax for dinner recently when Shepherd offered a $4,000 donation for a good cause. After speaking to guidance counselors in Carroll County’s elementary school, Gardner found there was a huge need for underwear, socks and shoes for elementary school students.

“What are the odds of somebody calling like that telling you to go do something for the kids? It’s all need based,” Gardner said. “It is not just to buy clothes for kids, but if you have somebody in your class that has a need, there you go.”

Of the $4,000 donation, Gardner said his office has spent $1,700 so far on clothing for all seasons - shoes, socks, underwear, shirts and pants for elementary school kids. On Thursday, guidance counselors from all over the county came to pick out items for their students in need.

“We’ve still got $2,300 to spend. These came from Magic Mart and Wal-Mart and both of those folks were really helpful,” Gardner said. “We also called Harmon’s and they didn’t have kids’ clothes as cheap, but they told us we could use their shelves. So a lot of merchants are helping with it, too, which is kind of cool.”

Renfro Corporation will also be donating socks to the drive, said Melinda Upchurch of the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office. Of the remaining $2,300, she said the Sheriff’s Office would meet with guidance counselors and have them provide a list of specific needs.

“We talked about school supplies and book bags,” Upchurch said. “If we see other needs, we’ll get them on the list.”

Shepherd is one of the most prolific drivers in NASCAR history with a career that spans over 46 years (1967-2013). During that time, he started 511 Sprint Cup Series races, collecting four wins, seven poles, 63 top-5 finishes and 168 top-10 finishes.

The Morgan Shepherd Charitable Fund was established in 1986 as a program to assist the needy and handicapped in the Virginia Mountains. The Charity raises funds to support the PARC Workshop, an organization that provides handicapped adults job and daily living skills. Each year in December, the Morgan Shepherd Charitable Fund hosts a very special trip to the Virginia Mountains to share the true meaning of Christmas with the less fortunate. On this trip, gift bags, which contain donated items, are given to the Parc Workshop, Southwestern Training Center for severely handicapped adults, and low income families.