Heard on the Hill

NASCAR's Richard Childress Speeds Up to Help Kids

North Carolina lawmakers invite the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma founder for a briefing

Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., speaks with former NASCAR racer Richard Childress at a Congressional Pediatric Trauma Briefing. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Famous for race cars and his wealth from entrepreneurship, Richard Childress is also working for the kids.  

Childress, one of the wealthiest men in North Carolina, was invited to Capitol Hill by fellow North Carolinians—Republican Richard Hudson and Democrat G.K. Butterfield—to discuss his efforts through the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma on Tuesday.  

“Every time you hear a church bell ring, a child dies. And this is 2016. We have to do something to change that," Childress said of pediatric trauma, the number one killer of children in America  

After driving NASCAR between 1969-81, he became the team owner of Richard Childress Racing, for which late NASCAR legend Ralph Dale Earnhardt Sr. raced.  

“He’s not just someone who uses his celebrity to fly in, fly out and do a photo op. He is someone who invests his time,” Hudson said of Childress.  

Childress told success treatment stories of children who survived traumas—one was hit by a car, another fell off of a horse.  

“This country’s losing 10,000 children a year,” he said. “We want to build a team and have everyone get aboard this team and go out there.”  

Level one trauma centers, according to Childress, are more likely to save these kids' lives. Montana, where he said he owns land, doesn’t have any level one trauma centers.  

Hudson announced that he and Butterfield are launching the Pediatric Trauma Caucus at the briefing, which several members have signed up for, according to the congressman.  

“There is nothing more devastating for a family then losing their precious child,” Butterfield added.  

In 2008, Childress and his wife teamed up with Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center to create their institute, which focuses on research and medical education to improve treatment and awareness of pediatric trauma.  

“[Kids are] going to be the president, they’re going to be the congressmen and women,” Childress said. “And we have to do something.”  

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