WQPT, PBS for the Quad Cities Region and the QC VET Center will host the 3rd Annual Patriot Derby Challenge on Saturday, February 15th at Western Illinois University – Quad Cities Campus (3300 River Drive, Moline). This unique pinewood derby race allows military veterans to race their service-themed pinewood derby cars against cars that scouts have built in a friendly competition that encourages interaction between the men and women who have served our country, and children who have benefited from their service.

The event is FREE and open to the public. Any Scout (i.e., Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Girl Scout, etc.) and active duty military or veteran is eligible to participate in the race.

Awards will be given to scouts for the most patriotic car, best paint job, most unusually shaped car, and fastest car.  Active duty member and veterans can win awards, as well.

WQPT will have games and activities for children to do while they’re not racing pinewood derby cars or talking to veterans.  Food and refreshments will be available, too.

Weigh-in will start at 10:00am and registration will close at 10:30am.  Racing will begin at 11:00am. To pre-register, people can sign-up at: https://tinyurl.com/PatriotDerby

“WQPT’s Embracing Our Military initiative is in its 7th year, and we’ve hosted or participated in countless military events during that time,” said WQPT Director of Education and Outreach, Michael Carton, “but this is easily one of our favorites!  It’s a great way for children to show their gratitude towards veterans for serving our country while also participating in some friendly competition.”

“Readjustment isn’t always easy for Veterans coming home from deployments.” said Shane Kern, Veterans Outreach Program Specialist for the Quad Cities Vet Center. “Integrating fun things that include family members have been proven to help that process.  Scouts are the future service members of America, so why not integrate the two!”

For more information, visit the WQPT Facebook Event Page ( facebook.com/wqptpbs/events ) or contact the QC Vet Center at 309-755-3260 or shane.kern@va.gov.

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Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.