NASCAR driver recognizes Winamac man who collects pop tabs for charity
That was a reality for 54-year-old Raymond Crawford on Monday when he received a big surprise from his favorite NASCAR driver.
Ray has Down Syndrome but his sister, Gail Ledger Wood, said that has never stopped him from collecting pop can tabs for charity for almost two decades.
Charities like Ronald McDonald House and Riley Children’s Hospital have benefited from Ray’s efforts.
In June, ABC57 took him to the Ronald McDonald House of Michiana so he could see how all of his hard work has paid off.
Through the course of the story, Ray showed off his extensive NASCAR collection and rattled off a few of his favorite drivers: Dale Jarrett, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Matt Kenseth.
With the help of Roush Fenway Racing, ABC57 News hand-delivered a special message to Ray from one of those drivers.
After a few knocks on his front door, Ray appeared with a warm greeting and a smile on his face.
He wanted to show off his prom pictures but we had something to show him first.
“Hey, wait. We have a surprise for you. I see you have your Matt Kenseth shirt on, right? Ok, so Matt Kenseth has something to say to you ok?” said ABC57.com’s Allissa Corak.
With the touch of a button, his idol began speaking to him.
“Hey, Ray. Matt Kenseth here. I saw the special about the pop tabs you’ve been collecting for charity I also saw the cool shirt in your closet and that you’re a fan of mine. I just want to say, thanks I really appreciate that and its an awesome thing you did,” Kenseth said in a video message.
Video courtesy Roush Fenway Racing
The surprise was followed up with a couple of gasps, plenty of hugs, a few tears, and one very important question, “Hey, Matt. When are you gonna start racing again?”
The good news is, Kenseth hits the track again on Sept. 2 in Darlington, South Carolina.
“To be recognized by someone he really admires and looks up to-- its pretty special,” said Ledger Wood.
Ray has been a lifelong racing fan, watching and participating at local race tracks thanks to his father who first introduced him to the sport.
Ever since, he has been collecting memorabilia and going to races near and far.
As for his charity efforts, Ray has another round of pop tabs ready to donate as soon as he gets the chance.
If you would like to send Ray your pop can tabs, send them to:
Star City IN 46985