Panther Owner John Barnes Receives The Spirit of Hope Award Panther Racing managing partner John Barnes has been named a recipient of the prestigious Spirit of Hope Award, and will be honored at a ceremony in Washington DC on November 19th. Barnes has been the driving force behind Panther Racing’s partnership with the National Guard since 2008 and the Spirit of Hope award is given annually to individuals whose, “commitment and dedication to service in support of the Armed Forces and their families embodies the ideals and values exemplified by the late Mr. Bob Hope.”
“The men and women who have served know all about commitment and are ready to lead in communities across the nation,” said the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral James A. “Sandy” Winnefeld, Jr. “They are a national resource – a wellspring of innovation, hard work, and resilience. John recognized this, leveraged it, and built a roadmap for so many of our veterans, laying the groundwork for their future success and continued contribution to our nation.”
Barnes recently created the team’s “Operation: Hire Our Guard” employment program that fights unemployment issues facing National Guard soldiers. As part of the program Panther invites local business and military leadership to its events and educates employers on the unemployment crisis and the benefits of hiring Veterans, and then makes the connections between the companies in attendance and local military leadership.
“To be recognized in the same light as Bob Hope, and all the great things that he did for our military, is unbelievably humbling,” Barnes said. “I’m not somebody who goes after awards like this, because I always feel like there are others more deserving. But at Panther Racing we’re very privileged to have an opportunity to make a positive impact on our National Guard service members and their families. This only continues to further dedicate myself and our team to make the most of the responsibility we have representing these great men and women.”
Earlier this year Barnes was asked to testify in front of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Veterans Affairs during a Congressional hearing entitled, “Lowering the Rate of Unemployment for the National Guard and Reserve – Are We Making Progress?” During the 2012 season alone Panther’s program provided Veterans exposure to approximately 9,300 job opportunities and – based on a conservative approach – as many as 4,300 National Guard soldiers have been employed as a result of the “Operation: Hire Our Guard” program.
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