By Annette P. Gomes, Warrior Care and TransitionDecember 4, 2018
U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Wayne Davidson: Race of Remembrance
By Annette P. Gomes, Warrior Care and Transition
ARLINGTON, Va. - The city of Anglesey in North Wales is home to beautiful mountainous countryside, green landscapes, endless farming communities and the site of the 2018 Operation Motors Sports' "Race of Remembrance." The event commemorates the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, when the Allies and Germany signed the armistice to end World War I, and the sacrifices made by military personnel.
The race is key in raising awareness and support for its charity entitled Mission Sports, which has been instrumental in developing accredited training centers and corporate partnerships. These partnerships provide new skills and work placements for service men and women bridging the gap between military service and second careers as civilians beyond injury, by finding employment in the automotive industry.
Operation Motorsports competitor, Sgt. Maj. Wayne Davidson, called Anglesey home for 10 days as he participated in the fifth annual "Race of Remembrance."
"It's very difficult to explain the feeling you get when you're out there on the track and see all these people honoring our wounded, ill and injured Soldiers, it's very moving," Davidson said.
On February 15, 2018, Davidson was injured in a parachuting accident where he suffered a traumatic brain injury with extensive frontal and temporal lobe damage which has affected his behavior and personality.
While he healed at the Warrior Transition Battalion, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Davidson learned of the annual Race of Remembrance after connecting with Warrior Transition Coordinator Larry Lingenfelter. A short time later he spoke with Tiffany Lodder, one of the founders of Operation Motorsports.
"I was fresh off my injury and I thought [Operation Motorsports] would be a great test for me to be around people and to start working on the path to interaction with people," Davidson said. "I told Tiffany that I would like to be part of the Race of Remembrance. A couple of months later, Tiffany informed me that I had an official invitation to the Race in England. I cannot thank them enough for this great opportunity."
The United Service Organization, or USO, of Raleigh, North Carolina sponsored Davidson's trip.
Davidson became the eighth Fort Bragg Soldier to participate in the Race. This year's event saw approximately 50 teams compete in the annual 12-hour race and also included a Heroes Dinner and a moment of silence on the final day of the event.
During the last six years, Operation Motorsports has helped military service men and women secure 120 jobs.
"I love how the Operation Motorsports reaches out and helps Veterans that are in transition. I really used this opportunity to help with my TBI," Davidson said.
While Davidson, says the mission of Operations Motorsports is impressive, and the Race of Remembrance boasts all winners, he says he's lucky to be alive and the trip taught him one valuable lesson about life:
"You have to live every day like it's your last."