News

Otterville racer offers truck for signature fundraiser

By Jennifer Vandermeer, Norwich Gazette/IngersollTimes

Rick Verberne's number 88 racing truck is being used to raise money for the Thames Valley Children's Centre. For a minimum $2 donation, people can sign their name to the truck, which is available for signing at Verberne's business, Otterville Motors, during the week, and will be at Delaware Speedway for events through the season.

Rick Verberne's number 88 racing truck is being used to raise money for the Thames Valley Children's Centre. For a minimum $2 donation, people can sign their name to the truck, which is available for signing at Verberne's business, Otterville Motors, during the week, and will be at Delaware Speedway for events through the season.

Otterville race truck driver Rick Verberne has turned his ride into a way to raise funds for the Thames Valley Children's Centre.

Verberne has offered up his #88 racer as a signature truck this season. For a minimum $2 donation to Children's Health Foundation – which will direct proceeds to the Thames Valley Children's Centre (TVCC) – supporters can sign their name on the truck.

He developed his desire to help children when he took his truck to the Children's Health Foundation's Teddy Bear Picnic last year.

“I was pretty humbled by that experience,” said Verberne. “We have two children of our own and they're healthy.”

Through the picnic, Verberne met Jennifer Baxter, a community relations associate with the foundation. They put their heads together and came up with the idea of bringing back the signature truck program – a program previously run by Verberne's cousin Brian Verberne who raced his signature truck to the 2002 championship at Delaware Speedway.

Baxter said each year, more than 7,900 children and their families benefit from the services provided by the TVCC, which supports children with physical disabilities, communication disorders, developmental delays and autism spectrum disorders.

“We are so grateful for Rick Verberne and his dedication to Children's Health Foundation,” said Baxter.

“The reason we picked the Thames Valley Children's Centre was because one of my cousin's boys spent some time there, so it's a little closer to home,” said Verberne.

The first opportunity to sign the truck was May 15, when Verberne had his truck set up on spectator hill at Delaware, where he races in the Demar Aggregate truck series. It was the track's season opener, though the truck series opens May 29.

Verberne explained even if people can't get out to the race track to see and sign the truck, he will have it at this year's Teddy Bear Picnic at Children's Hospital in London June 9. The truck will also be available through the week at Verberne's shop, Otterville Motors, from Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. And if people can't make it to the shop to sign the truck in person, Verberne will take email requests (verbernemotorsports@yahoo.ca) and when he receives payment, he'll sign the donor's name for them. Signatures are put on the truck's red paint with metallic marker, and can be done in gold, silver or bronze. Charitable receipts are issued for donations over $10.

“There is lots of room (for signatures),” said Verberne. “After it's all covered, it'll look pretty neat.”

Verberne will race the signature truck in the 10 races scheduled for the truck series this season at Delaware, where it will be available on the front straightaway before races. Though his 2015 season hasn't started yet, Verberne said he's had a very good career so far, thanks in no small part to a host of sponsors and partners.

You can follow Verberne on Twitter at @rverberne88