Hope everybody made it home safely from Cruise-In XII. If you attended and were registered with the NCM, send me a PM and I’ll add a “Cruise-In XII Veteran” tag to your user ID. If you also participated in the Wounded Warrior Recognition program on Thursday, shoot me a PM and I’ll add a “Wounded Warrior Escort” tag to your user ID.
As sometimes happens in Bowling Green this time of year, we had some pretty nasty squall lines move through Wednesday and Thursday, but fortunately there was no damage and it did not dampen the enthusiasm of those present. It did give us a couple of pretty cool days and evenings.
Thanks to Roc LInkov and Karen Renfrow, the events team at the NCM, for heir efforts on our behalf organizing the event. Thanks also to the following vendors for their generosity on giveaways for Cruise-In XII:
- Bentley Publishers
- Pfadt Race Engineering
- Race Deck garage floors
- AllData DIY
- Hotchkiss Sport Suspension
- Essex Parts Services
- Aeromotive Fuel Systems
Thanks also to Corvette magazine and America’s Sports Car magazine for promotional support.
A first for Cruise-In this year was the Wounded Warriors Recognition program, the brainchild of April Kauffman from New Jersey. The concept was to honor wounded soldiers by introducing them to Bowling Green for an introduction to America’s Sports Car.
The program was supposed to begin earlier this year, but was delayed by a number of logistical and administrative snags. When Roc asked if we’d like to incorporate the event into this year’s Cruise-In, it was a no-brainer to say, “Of course!”
I had the honor of participating in the Wounded Warrior Recognition program and escorted a soldier from Ft. Campbell, KY. Drivers took their Corvettes to Ft. Campbell or Ft. Knox, KY in caravans escorted by the Kentucky State Police to pick up their Wounded Warriors.
The number of soldiers expected to participate in the event varied somewhat with several adjustments per day being made in the final count on the last few days, but the NCM ended up with 79 volunteer Corvette drivers and 79 Wounded Warriors. Spouses of the soldiers also were invited to participate and they were brought to Bowling Green via vans and buses.
The soldiers got an excellent introduction to the Corvette through the spirited drive to and from their respective bases, a tour of the Bowling Green Assembly Plant and the NCM, where they were served lunch and provided gift bags. One soldier won two tickets to the Indianapolis 500 in a drawing.
I hope the event bolstered the spirits of the soldiers involved. I know it made each of the drivers feel privileged to have been involved. As far as I know our Wounded Warrior caravans and their routes were unpublicized, yet there were several occasions when we passed people who had pulled over and rendered a hand salute to the soldiers as we passed. At one spot, there was a group of people with signs and American flags who waved as we passed.
Wendell Strode at the NCM, a Vietnam veteran, told the soldiers during lunch how appreciated they were for their service. He pointed out that men and women in the military service have written their country a blank check and that the check can be cashed in any amount up to and including giving your life.
The Wounded Warriors project was a great idea it deserves to remain in place and repeated with the regularity possible.
I’m already hearing from NCM staff that they have improvements they will make for the next Wounded Warriors event at the NCM and the Assembly Plant. The next event will take place during the Vets ‘n Vettes event scheduled for Nov. 3-5.
I’ve told Roc and Karen that I’d also like to repeat the event at next year’s CI-XIII. If you weren’t able to participate in the NCM’s first Wounded Warriors event, I hope you’ll try to participate in a future event – this fall when Veterans Day is observed or next year’s Cruise-In during Memorial Day weekend or BOTH!
Registrations for Cruise-IN were just under a hundred, including a number of walk-ups. I missed not seeing some of the folks who were not able to make it this year, but enjoyed seeing many CI veterans and quite a few first-time CI attendees. I hope they'll come back next year and bring Corvette friends with them.
Here are some pictures I shot during Cruise-In XII. If others have pictures, I hope they will add them to the thread.
Here are some early arrivals cleaning their Corvettes Wednesday evening just before the storms came through and the Wounded Warriors event on Thursday: