Each year, at least 32 Fort Bragg survivor Families travel to a place that is fit for a king.
The king in question is NASCAR Hall of Famer, Richard Petty and the place is the beautiful, countryside of Randleman, North Carolina — home of the Petty Family’s Victory Junction Ranch.
Each year, Fort Bragg surviving Families are guests of the Petty’s for a weekend of horseback riding, camping, fishing and various other outdoor activities.
The Victory Junction Gang Camp was founded by the Pettys, in honor of their grandson Adam, a former NASCAR driver, who was killed while preparing for a race in May 2000. According to its website, Victoryjunction.org, the purpose of the camp is to enrich the lives of children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses by providing life-changing camp experiences that are exciting, fun and empowering; all in a medically-sound environment at no cost to the camper or their Family.
According to Charlotte Watson, program manager for Fort Bragg’s Army Community Service Survivor Outreach Services, the relationship between Fort Bragg and Victory Junction has existed since 2009.
“Victory Junction has been doing a weekend retreat for Fort Bragg surviving Families since 2009. This event takes place in the early Spring. This coming year it will be in April 2016. Victory Junction is a camp for children with special needs such as cancer, diabetes, or sickle cell, etc. However every year, through donations, Victory Junction provides a weekend just for our survivors,” said Watson.
The camp offers a weekend that allows the Family to reconnect in a safe environment without the influence of the outside world, she explained.
“The weekend at Victory Junction is very special for the Families. It is their time to be a Family and just have fun ... reconnect and rediscovering each other is important. For surviving Families it is even more so,” Watson said.
She said members of the camp recently visited Fort Bragg, allowing them to get acquainted with some of the Families on post.
“Victory Junction came to Fort Bragg to see a day in the life of a Soldier Thursday. This was great for them as they connected with our Families, especially those who have been attending the survivors weekend since the beginning. They (VJ) get a real understanding of the military and why continuing to have weekends is so vital for the healing process of our survivors,” Watson explained.