Alex Palou aims to shine light on veteran suicide with American Legion ‘Be The One’ car at Indy 500

when alex palo won the pole Indianapolis 500Setting the fastest four-lap average speed in history at 234.217 mph, his mind was set on little more than the top starting position for “the greatest spectacle in racing”.

during an interview with NBC Sports after it’s overHe looked into the camera and said something that resonated with his primary sponsor, the American Legion.

“This is for every veteran in the United States today,” Pallo said.

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Alex Palou poses after winning the pole position for the Indianapolis 500. (Chip Ganassi Racing)

Racing sponsors aim to sell a product, be it motor oil, tires or a soft drink. But Palau and Chip Ganassi Racing have the cover of the US Army his number 10 honda Which says “be the one” on its side and has spoilers.

It’s an important message that hits hard in Indianapolis over Memorial Day weekend.

Every day 17 veterans commit suicide in the United States. us Army “Be The One” Campaign Not only does it want to reduce that number but it wants to eliminate veteran suicide.

Palu, who was born in spain and having lived in the United States only four years, he admitted he was not comfortable being the face of this influential organization for veterans because “I’ve never had a family member who was a veteran.”

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However, he quickly changed his mind after learning more about the stories and mission of the people on his team.

“It was huge to learn that we have Some veterans in our team, and they could really explain what they went through, what friends they went through and really send the message that we wanted to keep and what our priority was. It was not for selling motor oil or any product. It was to save the lives of veterans,” Pallo told Fox News Digital ahead of the 107th Indy 500.

“It’s hard to understand when you don’t have the experience of someone close to you. But, honestly, [the team] Made it very easy to understand. From that point on, it was like, ‘Okay, we need to help people.’ If we can help make sure racing fans know there is a ‘Be the One’ initiative, that they can get some help, then everyone can help someone.”

It was also important to Chip Ganassi, whose father fought in World War II.

Dean Kessel, executive director of the American Legion, told Fox News Digital about the “Be the One” campaign.

Alex Pallo and team celebrating

Alex Pallo and his American Legion team celebrate winning the pole in the Indianapolis 500. (Chip Ganassi Racing)

“Our whole goal with what we’re doing with ‘Be The One’ is to de-stigmatize help-seeking,” he explained. “It’s the No. 1 issue with veterans either seeking mental help or when they contemplate suicide. It’s OK not to be OK. We want to be able to debunk that message.”

The American Legion has been in existence for 104 years, and Kessel explains how the organization was instrumental in the creation of the GI Bill, which provided free tuition, mortgage assistance and more to World War II veterans and compensation for Vietnam veterans Gave. Agent Orange.

Today, Kessel said, “health and suicide, in particular,” are the biggest issues facing veterans returning from Afghan tours after 9/11 and beyond, which is how the “Be the One” campaign came to be.

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“The phrase itself has a very deliberate meaning. The reason we’re using the word ‘one’ is we don’t want to talk about the 17 who die every day. We want to talk about the are what we can do to save today,” Kessel said. “If you save one today, that number goes down by default.

“Secondly, we want to use action verbs. … Be a veteran talking, be a veteran listening, be working locally with your law, helping with veteran issues Be an experienced person hiring one.”

Palo’s “Be the One” No. 10 car was on full display prior to polling in the Indy 500. He won the 2023 GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 13, his first win in that vehicle.

Those wins, along with four top fives and five top 10 finishes, moved Palu to the lead in the IndyCar Series with 174 points. Indianapolis being home to the American Legion, this victory means a lot to the organization as members watch their men cross the finish line. Line up and grab the trophy at the end of the race. He felt the same way when he polled this week.

“You have all these forces coming together,” Kessel said of the Indy 500 this weekend. “We’re an Indianapolis-based organization. It’s Memorial Weekend. We’re the American Legion with our widest reach across the country. And to Alex not only for winning the pole, but he won the race leading up to the pole last week at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway But. Now, to be in that position for the biggest race in the world is an extraordinary event for us.”

Palo will hope to do the same again on Sunday, and not just to retain their spot at the top of the points column.

“To win on Memorial Day weekend with the American Legion in Indianapolis, I think it would be huge for the American Legion, for us on the racing side, obviously. But we’re going to be able to spread the ‘Be The One’ initiative a lot Will be able to do more,” he said.

alex palo poses

Alex Palou poses with the trophy after winning the Indianapolis 500 pole position. (Chip Ganassi Racing)

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“I will do everything I can to get that No. 10 car on Victory Lane.”