Chip Ganassi Racing IZOD IndyCar Series driver Charlie Kimball received the Jefferson Award, one of the nation's top honors for community service and volunteerism, at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. earlier this week. Kimball was honored along with 14 other recipients from the country, including Jim Kelly, a Hall of Fame quarterback with the Buffalo Bills, LaFontaine, a Hall of Fame center for hockey's New York Islanders, New York Ranger and Buffalo Sabres, in the category Outstanding Athlete in Service and Philanthropy.
The Jefferson Awards are bestowed in five categories: national recipients, “unsung heroes” at the community level, champion winners (affiliated with companies or organizations), schools, and, for the third time, professional athletes. Other honorees this year include retired four-star Army General-turned-CIA director David Petraeus (greatest public service by an elected or appointed official) and jazz musicians Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick Jr. (for the efforts to rebuild New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina in 2005).
Kimball, now in his second season with the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team (ABOVE) in IndyCar, is the first driver with Type 1 diabetes to race in the Indy 500. Since his diagnosis, Kimball has regularly made appearances to spread awareness of diabetes. He is committed to helping others pursue their dreams and not let diabetes stand in their way.
"It was an absolute honor to receive the Jefferson Award as recognition for my work with Novo Nordisk in the diabetes community," said Kimball, who accepted the medal and certificate in Washington, D.C. "To be included in such an inspirational group of people is truly special. I am very blessed to be able to do what I love and at the same time inspire people to overcome obstacles and live their dreams."