When Alex Bowman’s No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 circles the track in Charlotte on Memorial Day weekend, the first thing fans will probably notice will be its special red, white and blue star-themed design. The scheme will help kick off the 58th annual NASCAR: An American Salute initiative which starts during the Memorial Day Weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway and runs through July 4th.
The “600 Miles of Remembrance” salute has become a tradition to help NASCAR honor those who have given their lives in service for their country. As with the other cars participating, the most distinguishing feature of the No. 88’s patriotic paint scheme is the name on the windshield header.
Captain Nick Rozanski, a native of Dublin, Ohio, and a graduate of The Ohio State University, was killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2012. Nationwide has a long history of supporting the military and helping raise awareness of military service in the community; honoring Rozanski hits particularly close to home because his widow, Jennifer, worked in Nationwide’s Staff Sales Organization at the time of his death. She will attend the race with her mother and two daughters, 10-year-old Emma and 7-year-old Anna.
A hero in more ways than one
Nick was a lifelong NASCAR fan says Jennifer, who met Nick in 2001. They were married five years later, and when she was pregnant with their first child, Jennifer discovered just how deep her husband’s passion for NASCAR was.
“Nick bought her three racecar outfits before she was even born,” Jennifer says. “Who knew that race gear came in pink?! She was saying ‘Come on, Dale!’ by the age of two.”
He even wanted to dress one daughter as a racecar driver and the other as a pit crew member for Halloween.
“He loved that NASCAR celebrates true Americana and patriotism. The fans are a cross-section of the American culture, and he liked to have a good time, so I think he always wanted to go to a race to experience what it was like.”
Answering the call of duty
Nick was 27 when he enlisted in the military, and he did it without telling family or friends.
“I don’t think we were surprised that he joined the military, but we were all surprised he enlisted so quickly,” she says. “He knew the option to join was running out based on his age, and he was looking for a career change. The military was a great fit for him.”
Knowing that her husband died doing what he loved while making a difference in the lives of people around the world provides comfort for the young family. On the day he died, Jennifer started The Nick Rozanski Memorial Foundation.
“I wanted a way to continue his legacy and give back to the communities that mean so much to him,” Jennifer says.
To date, the foundation has given out more than $100,000 in scholarships, including providing scholarships through the Office of Military and Veteran Services and for children of military families in Ohio. The foundation also has co-sponsored a yoga program for female veterans and holds an annual golf tournament as a fund-raiser.
“It has meant so much to the girls and me,” Jennifer says. “It has been a way to keep telling Nick’s story to keep his memory alive.”
While love bug season may sound romantic, it’s anything but. About this time of year, those pesky black and red flies begin appearing on your car’s windshield, grille or hood. And since their bodies are acidic, love bugs can eventually damage your vehicle’s finish. Nip the problem in the bud and clean your car of love bugs with these simple tips:
5 Simple Steps to Rid Your Car of Love Bugs
1. To make their splatter easier to remove, completely soak the bug-laden area with water. If the bugs are especially plentiful, apply a light layer of baby oil to further loosen them.
2. Lightly scrub the area with a wet dryer sheet.
3. Rinse often and use new dryer sheets.
4. Scrub until they’re gone.
5. Clean off any leftover love bug residue, then wash and rinse your car.
Additional tipsOther ways to protect your car from love bugs:
Love bugs aren’t the only unique challenge that comes with the warm weather. Learn what to look for on the roads and how to drive safely this spring with these helpful tips.
If you’re shopping for a new home, hitting a slew of open houses in an afternoon might seem like a savvy strategy. After all, you don’t have to make an appointment. You can just walk in—and walk away guilt-free if you don’t like what you see. But when you come across a home that appeals to you, it pays to be an informed consumer. Keep these seven smart moves in mind.
1. Search the Internet first
Sure, you have to see a house in person to really get a feel for it. But with so many online listings available, you can rule out the obvious duds without making the trip.
2. Bring your own realtor with you
Sellers’ agents are there to look out for their clients, which means they won’t have your best interests at heart. Your realtor, on the other hand, is on your side. He or she can easily spot potential problems with the house. If your realtor isn’t available, tell the selling agent right up front that you have your own realtor.
3. Ask why the seller is selling now
You may not get the whole truth, but you might get a sense of how motivated the seller is. That can be helpful if you decide to make an offer.
4. Find out if the house has ever been in escrow
Any house that got to that stage in the selling process without the deal being closed could mean it didn’t pass the inspection. It could also mean that someone changed their mind. Either way, if the house has been in escrow, an inspection is a must before you buy.
5. Know how long the house has been on the market
Your realtor can probably find this out before you hit the open house. If the house has been on the market for a while, the seller might be more open to an offer well below asking price.
6. Check for any liens on the property
Are there any taxes, construction costs or other fees due? The selling agent should be honest, but your agent can double-check this for you.
7. Ask if any offers have already been made on the house
If you have competition, you may get into a bidding war, so be sure you really love the house before jumping in.
House inspections are critical to vetting any potential problems. There can be issues even with what seems like a dream home. From electrical hazards to cracks in the foundation to signs of flooding, prospective homeowners need to be on the lookout for flaws that can spell trouble. Catch some of these early enough in the process and you can still get the home of your dreams — with the seller making the needed fixes. Here are some important home inspection tips for buyers:
Check out the exterior
When touring the house, try to look beyond the overall aesthetics for clues there may be issues that need prompt repair. Start with the outside. As you’re walking toward the home, look at the roof. Are there any shingles missing? Are the edges curling or is the roof sagging? Even if it’s just the shingles, it may still run thousands of dollars. A sagging roof line, though, is a structural issue, indicating that rafters may need to be reinforced at a significant cost.
Also, be sure to check out the driveway, sidewalks, porches and patios while you approach the house, with an eye toward spotting cracks or sunken spots. These can amount to a hefty repair bill. But if, prior to signing a contract, you alert the homeowner, he may take care of it himself.
Look for cracks
When you get close to the house, look down toward the basement for indications of structural problems such as gaping cracks in the walls. If these are just hairline cracks in one small area, not to worry; that’s common particularly in older homes. The good news is that 90% of cracking is usually due to different rates of expansion of various building materials.
However, wider cracks, large enough to stick your fingers into, may mean that the house is settling because of poor soil conditions — a troubling sign. If this is the case, you’ll probably also see cracks upstairs, particularly over windows and doors.
How to spot water damage
You also want to be mindful of any signs of water damage because this can lead to other issues such as mold. Outside the home, check to see which way the grading slopes. Is it toward the foundation or away from it? If it’s toward the foundation, ask if the owners have made any provisions for special drainage in vulnerable places to compensate for flooding.
Look at the electrical system
Check the electrical system. If this is outdated or faulty, it could mean some inconvenience such as only being able to run a couple of electrical items at a time, or worse, it could lead to shock, electrocution or fire. Fortunately, this, too, can be corrected ahead of time if it is detected.
Also, don’t forget about what you can’t see, such as radon. The testing, which costs around $150, shouldn’t be passed up. This odorless gas is a carcinogen, which can cause trouble at levels as low as 4 parts per billion of a liter. Remedying radon exposure may involve using a mitigation system to channel the radon out of the house. In the end, if you really like a home despite a few serious issues, you don’t necessarily have to walk away. Keep in mind that most things can be fixed, and often an eager seller will step up and make the needed changes or offer you a better deal so you can fix these on your own.
If you are really interested in a home, consider getting a professional inspection earlier in the process rather than later, thereby avoiding unnecessary arguments. This way you can alert the sellers, allowing them to remedy any issues and avoiding confusion later as to whom may be responsible.
Asking the right questions can also reveal important information about a house. Here are 7 smart open house tips to further help you find the perfect home.
SPI Reflections Blog
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