June 15, 2013
/PRNewswire/ -- Joel Correll, a
Marine Corps veteran, and his 15-year son, Jarrett, who lives with cystic fibrosis, received a
surprise of a lifetime today at Michigan International Speedway.
Joel and Jarrett Correll
, along with Jarrett's mother, were on a VIP tour of the track – or at least that's what they thought – when
, "The King"
and representatives from Operation Homefront and Victory Junction surprised the family with an experience they will not soon forget.
As part of the "tour," the family was brought to the facility's media center to listen to a press conference involving Almirola and NASCAR Hall of Famer, Petty. In the middle of the press conference, Almirola called the family to the front. The driver of the famed No. 43 announced that Eckrich, part of the John Morrell Food Group, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, would be providing Jarrett with a week at Victory Junction, a camp founded by the Petty family that hosts children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses.
But, the surprises weren't over yet. "The King" then offered Joel and his son Eckrich crew uniforms and asked them to be a part of the race team on Sunday as special guests of the team, Eckrich and Operation Homefront. Petty and Almirola also informed Joel and Jarrett that they would have their names on the No. 43 Eckrich Ford on Sunday to honor them and help celebrate Father's Day.
surprise was a part of "Operation Inspiration," a campaign launched by Eckrich and Operation Homefront earlier this year to help honor, thank and support the military families who inspire their fellow Americans.
"This is a big surprise for us, something we didn't expect," said Jarrett after the surprise. "I love going to camp, it's a place where I can feel like myself. I never expected anyone to honor us like this, but it's pretty cool. This will be a great
"I was just nervous to be called up front," quipped father Joel. "But, it means a lot to military families to be thought of. Not just our family, but of the families that have come before us and the ones serving now. It's not something you expect, but it's something we won't forget."