Darrell Gwynn Foundation Donates $10,000 Wheelchair to Motorcycle Accident Victim Phil Polynone, Enabling the Chef to Return to Work
MOHNTON, Pa. – Darrell Gwynn and his father Jerry Gwynn, both legendary racecar drivers, were honored by the Maple Grove Raceway Walk of Fame at the Crowne Plaza Reading Hotel in Wyomissing, Pa on Thursday, October 7. The event marked the 20th anniversary of the NHRA Drivers vs. NASCAR Drivers Celebrity Softball Game at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading in 1990 that drew 13,000 spectators and raised $150,000 to assist with Darrell’s medical expenses shortly after his racing accident that left him paralyzed. Twenty years later, this year’s events were also highlighted by another distinctive wheelchair donation by the Darrell Gwynn Foundation and a “Track Walk for Those Who Can’t” prior to Sunday’s Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals action.
“I really want to thank all the people at the Maple Grove Raceway and the fans that attended the events and supported us,” said Darrell Gwynn. “It was one of the most amazing weeks of my life. We were able to provide another wheelchair to a deserving recipient and change someone’s life, raise money and awareness to support the foundation and being honored at the salute and being able to drive down the track and hear the support of the crowd really touched me. I can’t thank everyone enough. That kind of support lifts our spirits and allows us to help so many people in need.”
The All-Star Salute, which was hosted by retired NHRA announcer Dave McClelland, included an autograph session, the induction of the 2010 Maple Grove Raceway Walk of Fame, an auction and a presentation, as Gwynn, Kenny Bernstein and other players remembered the charity softball game. The inductees into the Maple Grove Raceway Walk of Fame were Darrell and Jerry Gwynn, NHRA board chairman Dallas Gardner, former NHRA Vice President Steve Gibbs, former NHRA division 1 Director Darwin Doll, Kenny Koretsky, and Jack Redd.
The event raised over $30,000 for the Darrell Gwynn Foundation whose Mission is to Provide Awareness, Prevention, Support and Ultimately a Cure for Paralysis. Notable attendees included 19 NHRA Drivers with the likes of Larry Dixon and Tony Schumacher. Also, longtime Darrell Gwynn Foundation supporters Bill Gannon & Glen Annarumma were in attendance. Gannon made a major contribution by purchasing an 8’ x 16’ banner made especially for the event for a donation of $20,000 to the Darrell Gwynn Foundation. NHRA Drivers Allen Johnson & Cory McClenan made significant donations by purchasing silent auction items for $5,000 and $1,000 respectively.
During the weekend’s festivities the Darrell Gwynn Foundation, thanks to the support of its donors, donated a specialized $10,000 wheelchair to Phil Polynone prior to Sunday’s track walk. The specialized wheelchair given to Polynone, who was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident, will allow him to return to return to work as a chef as the wheelchair is designed to elevate him so he is able to chop vegetables and cook over a stove. As part of its mission, The Darrell Gwynn Foundation donates dozens of specialized wheelchairs annually to people in need that cannot afford a wheelchair that can drastically improve their lives.
“I can get back to the kitchen and rip it up,” said Polynone upon receiving the wheelchair from the Darrell Gwynn Foundation. “I’m so excited.”
The Darrell Gwynn Foundation also held a “Track Walk for Those Who Can’t” on Sunday, October 10 at 8 a.m. at the Maple Grove Raceway. A total of $5,600 was raised from 280 fans that paid $20 each to make the quarter-mile walk. That money was doubled when former NHRA racer-turned-owner and longtime DGF supporter Kenny Koretsky matched the sum, and then tripled when Roger Brogdon Racing also matched it. The total raised from the track walk was over $16,000.