Saturday, July 30, 2011

Not a Typical Off Week for Jeff Gordon

Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR

After finishing 11th in the Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet in New Hampshire on July 17th, Jeff Gordon climbed out of his car and boarded a plane for a 28 hour flight to Congo, a state located in Central Africa. For those who are unaware, Congo is one of the poorest and most violent areas in Africa.

During his press conference on Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Jeff Gordon said “It was very eye-opening from the struggles that the people there are going through just to make 10 cents or a dollar or five, to the roads, the structure of the military, the government. From every aspect it was an experience that will change me forever.’

Prior to his trip to the Congo, Gordon was telling everyone how eye opening he expected it to be. He had no idea it was going to be like this. He now will tell you that this was nothing to prepare for.

Sick children, barefoot two years olds walking around with no supervision, and a group of women carrying sacks of coal or other miscellaneous things on their back and walking for hours to make a small amount of money were just some of the experiences Gordon also mentioned on Friday.

For Gordon, who lives a luxurious lifestyle himself, he had some guilt. He mentioned on Friday, that he felt “guilty for buying a two dollar bottle of water.”

The first thing he was excited to do was give his kids a big hug.

Jeff Gordon has always been one of NASCAR’s most charitable drivers. He started The Jeff Gordon Foundation in 1999 to help support the physical, social and intellectual needs of children. He has partnered with the Riley Hospital for Children in Indiana and has even granted more than 200 wishes through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He is also a proud member of Bill Clinton’s Global Initiative(CGI).Gordon’s trip was actually to help the CGI collect data about a refugee camp.

Gordon may have only been in the Congo for two and a half days, but it was an eye opening experience that left a lasting mark.

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