The NASCAR family was hit hard during the holiday season first with the death of Sharon Hutchens, wife of Bobby Hutchens who is the Director of Competition at SHR on December 22, when she lost her bout with breast cancer at the age of 45.
NASCAR was barely getting over the shock of Hutchens death when three days later on December 25, Richard Childress Racing pit crew member Donald “D.J.” Richardson, Jr., passed away in a Massachusetts hospital from complications of the H1N1 virus at the age of 37.
The season that is upon us is known as the season of giving, and both Hutchens and Richardson gave of themselves in their own unique way.
Hutchens went beyond the confines of her comfort zone, and helped those who were fighting the same disease that took her life.
Hutchens was passionate about her involvement in fighting breast cancer, and along with her good friend Michelle Hemric, they formed “The Pit Lizards” to help raise money to fight breast cancer.
She was also a supporter of the local Triad Chapter of the Susan G. Komen “Race for the Cure,“ and this past May Hutchens was awarded the inaugural “Survivor of the Year” award presented to her by Hota Kotb after the 2009 Triad Race for the Cure.
Richardson was no different except, that he gave by putting his life on the line each week during the NASCAR season, as the rear tire changer for the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet Impala SS team driven by Kevin Harvick.
Richardson knew the dangers of working on a pit team, and he was recognized as one of the top pit athletes at the position.
“D.J. was a gifted tire changer, one of the greatest team players in the business and a valued member of the RCR family,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing.
NASCAR has always taken great pride in showing the rest of the sporting world, what a tight knit family of fans we are.
Its times such as this that we can all get together, and show our support to these two families who are each suffering great losses, during a time when families are supposed to be enjoying one another’s company.
Death has its own way of bringing those who are close, even closer together especially during the holiday season.
Now is the time for each one of us to be heard in a much more positive way, and also a time that could bring comfort to those who have given of themselves so freely.
Is it really asking too much to try and put a smile on the faces of these families who maybe haven’t smiled in a few days, by just writing a few words of encouragement by letting them know that the NASCAR community is thinking about them in their time of sorrow?
Below are two links, one of them is a guest book for Sharon L. Hutchens, and the other is for Donald “DJ” Richardson.
Instead of commenting on this post, I would encourage each one who reads this to take a couple of minutes and click on the links and leave both families a short message.
Think for a second what a comfort as well as an impact it would be for these families to read a message of encouragement from someone they don’t even know, just the thought that someone out there is thinking about them could possibly take away the pain, even if just for a small moment.
Sharon Hutchens : http://www.legacy.com/gb2/default.aspx?bookid=1022339939912&cid=full
Donald "DJ" Richardson : http://www.legacy.com/gb2/default.aspx?bookid=936440722125&cid=full