NASCAR honors health care workers to kick off race week in Martinsville

Officials organized a parade to honor health care workers

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – A big week in Martinsville kicked off Tuesday with a special salute to our health care workers.

Before the action on the racetrack, there was a lap around a different venue.

“I couldn’t think of a better way to kick it off,” NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace said.

NASCAR haulers circled Sovah Health Martinsville in a parade to honor our health care heroes.

“It’s amazing the amount of work they have done,” Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell said. “What a risk to be a frontline worker, dealing with COVID, and they have done it without hesitation.”

“It’s nice to see the looks on all the faces of our frontline workers,” Wallace said.

“This is what we do, we take care of people. And so to be recognized for that and to be appreciated for that has meant the world for us,” said Tory Shepherd, interim CEO at Sovah Health Martinsville.

A similar parade was held last year at the start of the pandemic.

“It’s really been hard I think, not only for the hospital and the healthcare community but also just the community at large to really find hope and light and so for this, this is what this symbolizes for us, is there’s another change on the horizon and it’s a positive one,” Shepherd said.

The hospital and the speedway have been a team for decades and the pandemic has only made that partnership stronger.

Sovah continues administering vaccines at the track, now up to nearly 15,000 shots in arms in Martinsville.

“It’s really beautiful music, if you will, that we’ve been able to make together,” Shepherd said.

“We’re getting through this pandemic and thanks to them, we see light at the end of the tunnel,” Campbell said.

A lap of appreciation from one heartbeat of the community to another.

Race sponsor Blue-Emu gave 100 free tickets to health care workers at Sovah for Saturday’s big race.

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Jessica anchors 10 News on Saturdays and Sundays at 6 and 11 p.m. You can also catch her reporting during the week.