Disabled Vets Rehabilitate Racing Style
SALISBURY, NC- From the front lines to the race track, Iraqi war vet Brian Bingham has come a long way. His severe spinal injury, post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury made it hard to go back to work
"Either I couldn't do the job physically or due to my mental stability, I couldn't function," said Bingham.
His rehab doctor recommended Manpower to Horsepower. The business teams up with Rowan Cabarrus Community College to train disabled veterans for jobs in motorsports.
"They relate to the race cars. They relate to the adrenaline. That's what they miss the most," said Sue Robertson, CEO of Manpower to Horsepower.
The vet students learn everything from constructing a chassis to building a full race car. They also learn about motorsports management, including lessons in accounting and marketing.
Trainer Richmond Gage says the classroom learning, hands-on work and driving experience gives vets the building blocks they need for racing jobs.
"Each race team is pretty specific in the way they do things, but as long as the guys have the basics under their belt they can easily be trained in what that team specifically needs," said Richmond Gage, motorsports manager at Rowan Cabarrus Community College.
Beyond a job, the rehabilitation gets them back on their feet to become what they call productive members of society with purpose.
"Working on the cars, it get's them past their PTSD and TBI and the crowds are the biggest trigger," said Robertson.
"I'm able to get my anger and issues out while I'm driving because I'm more focused on getting around the track than anything else," said Bingham.
The program lasts for three semesters and the VA picks up the tuition cost.