WELCOME, NC – The NASCAR Foundation awarded its 10th annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award Thursday and one of the four finalists has a connection to the Triad.
Watching the virtual ceremony from the Richard Childress Racing Museum in Welcome, Rich Langley, a volunteer with The Roc Solid foundation, and the families of several child cancer patients he has helped here in the Triad, eagerly waiting to see who would win the award.
Langley volunteers with Roc Solid, building playsets for children with cancer, including many here in North Carolina.
“I think it’s an honor and a privilege to be nominated and to make it into the finalists. It was just unbelievable. I never thought I would be there and it’s not for me. It’s for the kids. I mean, it’s all for the kids because they’re the ones that are suffering,” Langley said.
He says his volunteering started about 10 years ago when he was helping his son find volunteer hours and discovered Roc Solid. He’s never looked back and people have noticed.
Every family he’s helped build a playset for has a special story and great words about Langley, including Chris and Nicole Kloesz, from Greensboro, who received a playset for their daughter Hannah last year.
“He encourages the teamwork behind it, including everybody in the process, because he really understands, that’s how we build a community. It’s not just one person as the driving force, getting everybody else to have that buy-in and understand how this is life-changing, that this is going to provide hope, not just for that child, but for the entire community,” Nicole Kloesz said.
“And he does it in such a positive way. Rich is the truest, most genuine example of a servant leader that I’ve ever encountered,” Chris Kloesz said.
And even though he didn’t win the award, being in the final four is a big deal and still puts $30,000 into The Roc Solid Foundation to help more families.
“But I don’t know how to repay them and say, thank you back other than to just keep doing what I’m doing and that’s what I plan on doing. I want to keep building and keep going until I can’t go anymore,” Langley said.
Since Langley and the Roc Solid Foundation didn’t get the $100,000, a donor stepped up with an additional $35,000 and a challenge for other donors to step up and match that donation as a tribute to Langley and all the volunteers at the Roc Solid Foundation.