PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – The veterans hit the race track in and around Portland this weekend.
The American Rally Association Oregon Trail Rally begins Friday night at Portland International Raceway. Racing continues Saturday at Goldendale and ends Sunday at Dufur.
A car competing nationally will have two veterans in the front seats as driver and co-driver.
It’s an experience open to any veteran who wants to get involved, thanks to a non-profit organization called the Phoenix Project. It was founded by Glen Ray, who was in the Navy for five years and served two combat deployments.
“I myself have struggled with depression and four years ago it was my last ditch effort to try to save myself from myself so I emptied my bank account, used all my tax returns and rented a car and raced in that same race four years ago,” Ray explained.
He will be the co-pilot working alongside fellow veteran Rebecca Milner, who served in the Army National Guard.
You might be wondering what the connection is between military service and driving.
Ray says they actually have a lot in common – things like teamwork, communication, trust, focus, relying on others and being part of a community.
Plus, it’s a healthy source of adrenaline that has nothing to do with drugs or alcohol.
Ray says once he started racing, he knew he wanted to bring other veterans onto the track.
Milner tells FOX 12 that this is a cause she truly believes in and that she knew she wanted to be part of.
“You don’t necessarily know working in a rally team that you’re going to learn something new and have the opportunity to make social and emotional breakthroughs,” she added. “I think it’s not a threat for people to get involved and deal with their PTSD or other emotional issues that they might face after leaving the military.”
As for being a race car driver this weekend?
“I’m excited,” she smiles. “I don’t know if I’ll be the fastest driver, but they just say to finish and not destroy the car, so we’re good. I think I can do that!”
If you want to learn more about Phoenix Project, visit phxpjt.com.
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