October 3, 2016

Dover Report

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Steve and the Victory Weekend team just finished a fantastic weekend in the Dover, Delaware area last weekend. The rainy weather and giant water puddles did not stop the crowds from coming to enjoy another Victory Weekend!

_mg_5189Starting on Thursday, September 29, Steve shared with 150 people at the Finish A Winner event at Life Community Church in Newark, Delaware. The people ate free hamburgers, hot dogs, and beverages, and music was led by the Jess Zimmerman Band. Steve interviewed Josh Reaume, allowing Josh the chance to share his encouraging testimony. Steve also empowered the audience with his signature NASCAR Flag Presentation.

Then, on Friday, September 30, the Victory Weekend team prepared for two evening events. The team spent the morning hours getting both stages set and arranged. Then from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., the Victory Weekend enjoyed seeing so many military personnel at the Dover Air Force Base, with an estimated 2,500 people who came that evening. Audra McLaughlin, one of the Victory Weekend performers, sang the National Anthem and Steve encouraged the crowd.

Joe Mattis, Director of Marketing and Entertainment, shared the transition between events. “We jumped into cars, drove 10 minutes, and then we were at the Dover International Speedway. We had five hours of playing that night, which felt like we were running 20 miles. It was a great event.” At the Dover International Speedway on Friday night, the crowd enjoyed the first night of free concerts and activities. Charee White, Audra, and Jess all performed with great enthusiasm, and Steve encouraged the crowd.

On Saturday, October 1, the Victory Weekend team prepared the stage again for the second evening event, just at the Dover International Speedway. Charee, Audra, and Jess wowed the crowd again with great performances. Vernon Zook, gave a message filled with encouragement. Afterwards, the Victory Weekend recognized 39 veterans during the awarding ceremony, sang “Amazing Grace” toward the end of the service, and enjoyed the fireworks at the conclusion of the event.

_mg_5267-croppedSteve shared that Dover is so special because of the responses of the people. For that reason, Steve describes Dover as exhilarating in one word.

Steve recalls a great story from the weekend. At the race track, Steve was appreciative of the crowd’s support. “Numerous people came up, bringing their friends and introducing them to me. These familiar friends bragged about what we are doing. And then, members of the camp’s security came up to me also and stated, ‘Oh, it is so great to have you back. You are making such a difference in this campground!’”

Steve is grateful for all Victory Weekend volunteers, partnering venues, and so many individuals who put in so much effort to make this weekend what Steve, Joe, and Dale Blose, Director of Logistics, have all stated as the best Dover event in the past four years, in terms of participation and responsiveness.

To recap, 9,650 people were encouraged at Victory Weekend events, and 179 veterans, military personnel, and first responders were honored for their service. Steve knows that if every person was recognized on the Dover Air Force Base, the team would be out of medals for a long time!

Dover, we enjoyed the weekend with you, and we look forward to seeing you again next year!

 

Photos courtesy of Ernie Didot