Life at the South Post Commissary got a little faster this week. Danica Patrick visited the store for a meet-and-greet with Soldiers, Family members and veterans, Tuesday.
One Soldier showed up early to get in line and was rewarded for his promptness. Staff Sgt. Aaron Creasman has followed Patrick her whole career, and took part in a special backstage picture before the start of the meet-and-greet because he was the first Soldier at the event. He was excited for his daughter Willow, 8, to talk to Patrick as well.
“I’d like for (Willow) to meet her because she is a great role model for young girls,” he said.
Willow said she couldn’t wait to meet the NASCAR driver and planned to ask her how it feels to be the first female in that league.
Other attendees also appreciated Patrick’s uniqueness in the male-dominated world of NASCAR.
“I think she’s a trail blazer,” said Alton Ramsey, Navy vet. “She’s drawing a lot of kids and a lot of young women into the sport.”
Both groups were well-represented at the meet-and-greet, and Patrick took extra time with the children in attendance, asking them about their favorite classes in school and posing for pictures.
“I play favorites with the kids,” she said. “I’m reminded just how many NASCAR fans there are in the world for sure but the kids, I’m just honored when they know who I am. What I love is that racing can become a Family thing and something they can watch together.”
Before the event, Patrick drafted a special message for a deserving service member as part of Coca-Cola’s new “Message in a Bottle” initiative. The organization is collecting inspirational messages from celebrities and sports icons to share with service members and their Families.
Although Patrick wouldn’t reveal the exact message she wrote for the bottle, she did share her gratitude for the military community as a whole.
“What the military does is important,” she said. “Service members, service Family members, even just beyond the members that are involved directly — the Families and the kids and the sacrifices made. We live in a free, wonderful country and it’s only that way because of that sacrifice. Freedom isn’t free and I think that’s a really true statement.”