Second Year Grant from Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation to Fund Program

CONCORD, N.C. (June 18, 2021) — Cabarrus Healthcare Foundation is pleased to announce a grant it has received for a second year from NASCAR Driver Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation will continue funding the Veterans Recognition Program at Atrium Health Cabarrus.  During a presentation held at Atrium Health Cabarrus on June 17, 2021, Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation presented a check in the amount of $114,350 to the Foundation and Hospital leadership to continue supporting the Veterans Recognition Program at Atrium Health Cabarrus.  Since the program’s inception, the Checkered Flag Foundation has gifted at a total of $158,009.96 to the program.

The program, launched in early 2020 started as a need identified by a caring, committed and dedicated nurse who wanted to recognize veteran patients.  Like the Checkered Flag Foundation, Atrium Health Cabarrus wants to continue to honor and assist those who have sacrificed greatly for our country through the establishment of the Veterans Recognition Program.

Asha Rodriguez, Facility Executive and Vice President for Atrium Health Cabarrus stated, “This program would not have been made possible without the support from Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation. Brad is a great supporter of all veterans and all the pieces of the puzzle fit perfectly together, creating this amazing partnership to support and acknowledge our veterans who come to our hospital for their medical care.”

Through the Atrium Health Cabarrus Veterans Recognition Program, the veteran patient experiences a special welcome upon hospital admission as well as recognition and appreciation for their sacrificial service during their hospital stay.  Veterans are provided with a special “Welcome Kit” along with an American flag being placed outside their door and on their bed during their stay.

In addition, our veteran patients are honored and recognized with the “Code Honor” protocol upon their passing in the hospital.  Code Honor provides an honorable “discharge” from the hospital upon a veteran’s death by draping the stretcher with the American flag and having the veteran and their family escorted by security from the deceased veteran’s room.  “Code Honor” will not only show Atrium Health Cabarrus’s respect for the veteran, but for the veteran’s family.

The first year of the Veterans Recognition Program was a huge success by providing over five hundred welcome kits to date for patients. We have also held four “Code Honor” protocols for our veterans who passed away since the program’s inception.  One veteran patient recently shared, “As a patient, I have never been treated with the care and respect I received at Atrium Health Cabarrus. I was treated like a hero because I am a veteran.  During everyday visits from doctors and nurses, I was told ” Thank you for your service. ”

“At its core, the Checkered Flag Foundation is about giving back to those that have served our great nation and protected its freedoms. Being able to say ‘thank you’ to our local heroes through the Veterans Recognition Program at Atrium Health Cabarrus is a true honor, said Brad Keselowski, NASCAR Driver and Checkered Flag Foundation Founder. “With the program now in its second year, we are very excited to watch the program continue to grow and reach more veterans deserving of our ultimate gratitude.”

Charlie Sastoque, President of Cabarrus Healthcare Foundation, also recognized and thanked two local small businesses who support the Veterans Recognition Program through the “Code Honor” protocol. Cabarrus Funeral Cremation & Cemetery donated the flags that is draped over the veteran during their honorable discharge. After each use of the flags, Dixie Cleaners in Kannapolis provides the cleaning and protection of each flag for the next use at no cost.

Once the presentation was over, Brad Keselowski and Checkered Flag Foundation Board Members were able to visit and deliver a welcome kit to a veteran patient at Atrium Health Cabarrus.  Brad also placed the American Flag on the veteran’s door which is used to help identify this patient is a veteran.

Founded in 2010, Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation has assisted or honored more than 250 individuals and organizations to help veterans and first responders throughout the country.  In addition to being a NASCAR champion in the top two levels of the sport, Keselowski has been recognized throughout his career for his charitable giving and philanthropy.

Atrium Health Cabarrus is a regional 457-bed hospital with more than 1,100 physicians and 4,000 employees providing services through an extensive inpatient and outpatient network, including a Heart and Vascular Center, Jeff Gordon Children’s Center, Hayes Women’s Center and Batte Cancer Center, part of Atrium Health’s Levine Cancer Institute.