The Memorial Day holiday has special meaning to many Kimberly-Clark families, and this past weekend, our KLEENEX Brand – in partnership with Disney-Pixar and JTG Daugherty Racing – honored one of those families on the No. 37 Kleenex-sponsored NASCAR, driven by Chris Buescher, during the 600 Miles of Remembrance race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
This special car was painted to resemble Lightning McQueen, the main character in the upcoming Cars 3 movie, which was a big win for our KLEENEX Brand’s ongoing partnership with Disney.
However, the team quickly realized that this high-profile opportunity with Disney-Pixar also created the opportunity to prominently pay tribute to a K-C family member who had made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. They reached out to Kurt Rodine and our SALUTE employee resource group for help to identify a family to honor.
“Requesting this type of info is a bittersweet ordeal,” says Kurt. “It is great that we get the opportunity to honor a fallen warrior, but the fact that we are honoring them means they have given everything they had to our country.”
The team selected a nomination from Ken Schell, Operations Manager at our New Milford facility, to honor Special Warfare Officer 1st Class (SO1) Jason Lewis. SO1 Lewis was a member of the US Navy SEALs and was killed in combat in 2007 in Bagdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The team worked with Schell and the family to have Lewis’ name printed on the windshield of the car for the duration of the race.
Ken shared a statement from Jason’s mom, Jean, and the Lewis family: “Jason was a strong, determined, committed young man who only had the mindset to succeed. He would push through any roadblock to do what was best for his family and country. Jason’s steps throughout his life were determined by God who was always a force in his life. We appreciate racing team for remembering our loved one on this Memorial Day.”