This weekend wear blue: run to remember, a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring fallen service members through active remembrance, is bringing its mission into the motorsports world to help raise awareness through the SRO world’s vast network connections.
For Lisa Hallett, Co-Founder and Executive Director of wear blue, the choice for a driver was easy as he was already a part of the team - Air Force Special Tactics Officer Major Chris Walsh, the only active duty service member to also be a professional race car driver - who volunteers as a mentor in the wear blue Gold Star Youth Mentorship Program.
In 2017 and 2018 Walsh even served as a mentor for Hallett’s son Bryce. Walsh helped the young Hallett train for a 5k run in remembrance of his father and other fallen soldiers, as well as offering support and friendship in a difficult time for the youngster. HERE is a short video of Walsh and his mentee, Bryce.
The partnership with wear blue has allowed Walsh to make his Pirelli GT4 America debut this season, after just a handful of career starts in Touring Cars and amateur endurance events. He had a leg up with the team, however, as Valkyrie Velocity’s eSports lead in the past two seasons and prolific success on the iRacing platform. Now, he and Dominic Starkweather are carrying the colors of wear blue: run to remember in the Silver class on the best tracks in America. Inside the door of the #96 car are the photos of friends and Airmen Walsh has lost.
“To say I’m excited about this would be the understatement of the century,” Walsh said. “I’ve been involved with Rob and the Valkyrie Velocity team for a few years now, and with Lisa and the team at wear blue: run to remember even longer. That entire time, I’ve been chasing my motorsports dream and exploring every opportunity. For this to come together in one package is a dream come true, and I can’t wait to represent on the race track and raise attention and funds for wear blue.”
“Grit. Determination. Love of country. Chris Walsh embodies wear blue's values and we are fired up to cheer him on at the races,” Hallett said. “We see the SRO series as an exciting opportunity to rally behind a competitive American Service Member while highlighting the work of wear blue in the rapidly expanding Motorsport World.”
Representatives from wear blue: run to remember, including Hallett, have been at the track each race so far this season. But this weekend’s race at Circuit of the Americas will be even more special.
Nearly 20 Gold Star children, along with their wear blue mentors, will be there and sporting their 'iconic blue' shirts with the same footprint as is featured on the hood of the car. They will be on site to take in the action, get up close and personal with Walsh and the Porsche Cayman, and see the organization they are a part of rush around the world-famous race track. They’ll get a meet and greet with Walsh and the team, a chance to see the track, and a dinner – all just down the road from their homes near Joint Base San Antonio.
COTA falls one week ahead of the Memorial Day weekend. Memorial Day is the day set aside to honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. Military. For children like Bryce, and the children you will see in blue shirts around the paddock this weekend, everyday is Memorial Day.
For more information on wear blue: run to remember or to make a donation, visit wearblueruntoremember.org.