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NASCAR Team Owner Richard Childress Drives
Mercy Flight Central Fundraiser to Success

Taste for the Race event raised more than $200,000

CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. – NASCAR team owner Richard Childress and his North Carolina-based winery, Childress Vineyards, teamed up with Constellation Brands to raise more than $200,000 during the “Taste for the Race” fundraiser for Mercy Flight Central on Friday, August 7, 2015. 

The event raised both awareness and funds for Mercy Flight Central’s (MFC) critical care life-saving services. Part of this year’s goal was to help raise funds for the purchase of monitors and ventilators that are crucial to every mission.

Over 250 guests at “Taste for the Race” were treated to wine from Constellation Brands, the North Carolina-based Childress Vineyards, and the New York Wine and Culinary Center. Senator Rich Funke served as master of ceremonies and auctioneer—setting the mood for a festive live auction that was met with great enthusiasm.

Auction items included a David Yurman Ring, donated by Mann’s Jewelers, Travel Packages and Private Food Truck Parties with Marty’s Meats and The New York Wine and Culinary Center. The items that drew the most attention and raised the most dollars however were the once in a life time VIP experiences with Richard Childress.   These included attending NASCAR Races in Charlotte and Talladega alongside Childress as well as private hunting trips with personal guides at Childress’ Montana Lodge.

Ginny Clark, Senior Vice President for Public Affairs, created Taste for the Race in 2004 because she realizes the importance of Mercy Flight Central’s services as her daughter, Shaunna, was air lifted by Mercy Flight Central 23 years ago. Clark states, “Although Shaunna’s accident happened years ago, Mercy Flight Central will always be a cause close to my heart and it brings me great joy to see so many people join together for the cause.” Clark is pleased to announce the renaming of this this event to “The Richard Childress Taste for the Race Event”, in recognition of Richard Childress and his long term and significant contributions and support of this event.

The honorary chair for the evening was Steven I. Goldstein, President/CEO Strong Memorial Hospital & Highland Hospital, Vice President, University of Rochester Medical Center. Guest speakers included Richard Childress,   Ginny Clark and past patient Beth Thomas. Beth shared her personal story of her horseback riding accident and also shared the story of her daughter who, at the age of 17, was airlifted by MFC following an auto accident. “My daughter and I both remember the warm and soothing hands of the nurse on our cheeks comforting us as we flew to the hospital.  I am so grateful that we have this life-saving service available, and I am thankful to everyone who came out to support this great organization.” Her words of gratitude resulted in the purchase of the needed monitors and ventilators.

“The Canandaigua community and our friends at Mercy Flight Central are important to us in the NASCAR racing family,” said Childress. “I am personally honored to support Taste for the Race and am thrilled it was bigger than any year before.”

About Mercy Flight Central

Mercy Flight Central was founded as a non-profit in 1992 to provide air medical services to residents of New York State and beyond. Since inception, the organization has served more than 13,000 patients and grown to approximately 50 employees. This includes bases of operations in the Finger Lakes and Central New York regions. The organization began operations as an advanced life support air ambulance service and has since expanded to become New York’s premier critical care air medical service with three helicopters staffed 24/7/365. 

Mercy Flight Central provides the highest level of pre-hospital critical care to patients. Each helicopter is equipped with state of the art medical equipment that includes ventilators, monitors and ultrasonography devices. Nurse/paramedic teams are highly trained and are knowledgeable in critical care patient management and advanced medical pharmacopeia. Air medical teams care for critically ill and injured patients requiring advanced treatment and rapid air transport to specialized medical centers across the northeast. Volunteer medical control physicians are on call for medical direction at a moment’s notice. All of these elements together deliver to the scene of an accident a level of care that can be compared to that of a hospital’s emergency department.

The aircraft utilized in transports includes helicopters that can travel within a 150- mile radius of Mercy Flight Centrals’ base locations.

For additional information, visit or find us on Facebook at Mercy Flight Central.

Thanks to C7 Photography for your donation of the beautiful photos in the slideshow below!

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Last Updated: 8/24/15


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Posted by John J. Frattare on
Thank you for your special and wonderful service.
Posted by Leona Russell on
Thank you for the wonderful care given to me from Penn Yan to Strong. Joe and Winnie were the very best! Many thanks for helping me get through a very stressful situation, feeling has returned to hand and will have full use of it! Please tell them thank you very much!!
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