EMPORIA, Kan. (KSNT) — While Clint Bowyer is prepping for the Daytona 500 in Florida, he has a lot of people rooting for him back in Emporia.
If you drive around Emporia, you’ll notice buildings and street signs that dawn the name of Clint Bowyer, but it’s not just because of his success as a race car driver. It’s also because of what he’s contributed to help make the community a better place.
“Every time they introduce him and you see Clint Bowyer from Emporia, Kansas, I mean, I’m born and raised here so it’s awesome seeing us, you know Emporia, Kansas on the big stage,” said Aaron Armitage, an Emporia native.
As if Bowyer’s success wasn’t enough to make him beloved in his hometown, his generosity earned him the respect and admiration of many people in the community.
“He’s always been a great person, even before he was big,” said Jason Birk, the general manager of Flint Hills Towing .
Birk first met Bowyer back when he started working for his parent’s towing company, the company he’s now the general manager for. It makes him proud that Bowyer is just as committed to giving back to his community as he is to winning races.
“Clint has really done a lot for Emporia,” Birk said. “With his community building, the playground equipment for the kids, I mean, the list goes on and on. I can’t even name half of what he’s done.”
From the million dollar community building Bowyer dedicated back in 2012, to giving back to kids in the community, both have been made possible through Bowyer’s 79 Fund. He started the fund back in 2008 to help kids in Emporia.
Former Emporia mayor Ray Toso serves on the board.
“It’s a multitude of things that he’s done and he could’ve walked away and not done anything,” Toso said. “I’m very proud of him.”
Since the 79 Fund was created, Bowyer has donated two million dollars worth of gifts to kids in Emporia and the surrounding areas.
Some of those gifts included donating computers to the public library, and giving out free backpacks and school supplies to students.
Regardless of whatever place he takes in the Daytona 500, he’ll always be number one in Emporia.