Summit Racing Equipment and Armed Forces Entertainment (AFE) have announced the itinerary for 2014’s “Operation Appreciation,” the annual visit by Summit Racing and Harley-Davidson racers to American troops stationed overseas.
This will be the second year Summit Racing NHRA Pro Stock drivers Greg Anderson and Jason Line, Summit Racing/BIGFOOT monster truck racer Dan Runte, and Harley-Davidson NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle racers Andrew Hines and Eddie Krawiec will visit troops in the Middle East, according to a press release.
Operation Appreciation is made possible by Armed Forces Entertainment (AFE) with special thanks to Army Special Forces Association Chapter 64 and SFA’s Sfc (Retired) Wayne Reed.
“2013 was our first trip to the Middle East and the most rewarding to date,” said Jim Greenleaf, Summit Racing motorsports and events manager. “It was an eye-opening experience, and we’re excited about returning this year with a couple of new places to visit.”
For Line, Anderson, and Runte, the troop visits have become an off-season tradition, the company noted.
“This is something that I look forward to every year,” said Line. “It is an honor to make this trip and spend time with the troops. To have the opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to them in person is something I don’t take lightly. The troops really make us feel like we’re something special when it should be the other way around.”
“We have the privilege of visiting someplace a lot of Americans haven’t been before,” said Anderson. “When you think about the dedication of these troops, it puts things into perspective. To be able to visit with them again is something I can’t wait for. You just want to let them know how grateful we are for all that they do.”
“I’ve been doing these trips since the beginning,” added Runte. “Each time I come back with a sense of respect for, and even awe at, what these men and women do to serve their country, to serve us. Anything we can do to show them that we appreciate their sacrifice is time and effort well spent.”
This year’s trip is the third for Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines riders Eddie Krawiec and Andrew Hines.
“I look forward to this trip. It isn’t very often that civilians are able to go behind the gates to say ‘thank you’ to all of our troops who support us,” said Krawiec. “They put their lives on the line, and this is just a small ‘thank you’ for that. It makes me feel good to be able to thank them personally.”
“It’s quite an honor to be asked again to visit the troops with Summit Racing,” said Hines, whose father, Byron Hines, served in the U.S. Army and served a tour of duty in Vietnam. “I always look forward to this trip so that we can give a little bit back and maybe bring a little bit of home to them. That’s the most important thing. We appreciate all they do for us.”
Joining the racers for the first time is NHRA race announcer and National Dragster writer Alan Reinhart.
“I’m honored to have been invited this year,” Reinhart said. “After hearing the positive stories from the drivers that have gone on these trips, I’m really looking forward to experiencing it firsthand. It’s always a pleasure to meet and talk with the soldiers when they come to the races and I’m grateful for the opportunity to thank them for what they do.”