The Checkered Flag Foundation (CFF) continued their mission to honor and assist heroes and their families, this time, giving back to local heroes in the Michigan military community through various initiatives during a race weekend visit to NASCAR driver and Checkered Flag Foundation Founder Brad Keselowski’s home state. The programs focused on supporting servicemen and servicewomen in their transition to civilian life and were activated through the Foundation’s longstanding partnerships with organizations Black Paw Canine and the Fisher House Foundation.
The weekend featured a special Hero’s Homecoming presentation at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) where Brad and the Foundation awarded their fourth service canine to a deserving veteran through their Service Dog Fund. Keselowski joined owner and lead trainer of Black Paw Canine Ben Brockway to present service canine and Aussiedoodle Krew, to his new owner and handler, Marine Corps Veteran and Michigan Army National Guard Chaplain Nate Cropsey.
“I’m humbled that we have a chance to help heroes and their families through our Checkered Flag Foundation,” said Brad Keselowski. “It’s even more special when we have a chance to support heroes in mine and Paige’s local communities, and of course for me, that includes my home state of Michigan. It was such a special experience awarding (service canine) Krew to Nate (Cropsey). It’s a moment that marks the start of their lives together supporting one another and the Michigan military community.”
This was the first Hero’s Homecoming graduation that took place at a race track, with the moment being celebrated on the frontstretch pre-race stage at MIS. The ceremony marked the start of Krew and Nate’s companionship that will support the Guard’s Victim Advocacy program and Michigan-based Zero Day’s mission to positively influence mental health within Michigan military community.
“Krew will be going with Nate to different events with Zero Day and with the Michigan Army National Guard where he will constantly be working with veterans,” said Ben Brockway, owner of Black Paw Canine. “Hopefully what Krew will do is to allow these servicemen and servicewomen to open up, share their feelings, share their stressors, and get them to talk to someone to start healing and move forward.”
In addition to the service dog dedication, CFF gave back to local heroes surrounding the Aug. 22 NASCAR Cup Series race at MIS in the following ways:
- A Keselowski family visit to the VA Ann Arbor Fisher House, a comfort home where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while loved ones are receiving treatment at the nearby VA Ann Arbor Medical Center. The VA Fisher House Ann Arbor is the first Fisher House location in the state of Michigan and came to fruition largely in part to a generous contribution and partnership of CFF. Since the home’s grand opening in June 2020, the VA Ann Arbor Fisher House has already served more than 1,100 families with a consistent 90% occupancy rate.
- A contribution to fellow NASCAR driver Kurt Busch’s KB 100+ initiative, which gave 100 local servicemembers a chance to attend Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway.
— Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation —