FORT LAUDERDALE, FL (NOV 2020) – The 12-time world champion Miss GEICO racing team will challenge aircraft from the GEICO Skytypers Air Show Team in an air vs. sea duel during the 2020 Fort Lauderdale Air Show. The race will take place along the shores of Fort Lauderdale on Nov. 21-22. A Fort Lauderdale veteran will be honored for her contributions to the military and community and will serve as the driver of the 47-foot catamaran during rehearsal for the two-day event.
In 2021, the Miss GEICO offshore racing team will launch the “Community Drivers” program as part of the organization’s efforts to show support for active duty and former military personnel. During select test dates and appearances at national air shows, local community members will be honored for their contributions to programs supporting members of the armed forces. The newly developed program is designed to show support and encouragement for local initiatives promoting programs for active duty and veterans of the military. These individuals are “drivers” in their communities and will be identified for their contributions to military-related support programs. This program dovetails with Miss GEICO’s own 501(c)(3) charitable foundation “United We Race” established in 2008 to benefit U.S. Veterans and their families.
The Miss GEICO Team will ‘test drive’ and launch the Community Drivers program this week. Retired Navy Chief Janette R. Chandler has been selected to drive the Miss GEICO during rehearsal for the plane-boat race for the 2020 Fort Lauderdale Air Show.
Chief Chandler is co-founder and Director of Veteran Affairs of the Military Heroes Support Foundation, which was formed in 2008. Karla Smiley (founder and current president) started the foundation following her son’s graduation from boot camp. After seeing new recruits without family or friends to join them in celebrating the completion of training, Karla reached out to a group of friends to launch the program. Chief Chandler was quick to join the group and has partnered with Smiley since inception.
During its 12-year existence, the Military Heroes Support Foundation has delivered more than 1 million care packages to members of all branches of the military during deployments. The group also has provided financial assistance to military personnel and their families for Christmas holiday support, Thanksgiving meals, emergency food and rent, critical items for infant care, and hotels and household items for the homeless.
Chandler enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1989 and received numerous medals and military recognitions during her 20 years of exemplary service. She currently serves as a civilian in the U.S. Department of the Army as a Family Readiness Support Assistant for the 81st Readiness Division, Region 7 (South) assigned to 73 units in South Florida. She also serves as a volunteer for Fishing with America’s Finest, Pompano Beach VET Center Advisory Board, Remember Everyone Deployed, Miami-Dade County Veteran Services Coalition, the American Legion, and Broward County Navy League and various other organizations.
During Friday’s air show rehearsal, the solo pilots from the GEICO Skytypers will fly at a low-altitude just above the deck of their water-bound counterpart, the 47-foot Miss GEICO Victory catamaran. The watercraft requires two people to drive the powerboat, which is capable of reaching speeds exceeding 160 mph. Steve Curtis will handle the throttles while sharing the cockpit with Chief Chandler as the driver. Curtis is an international boat racing legend and has won more than 20 world championship titles.
For more information about additional performers at the Fort Lauderdale Air Show, visit https://fortlauderdaleairshow.com. For more information regarding the Military Heroes Support Foundation and to make contributions, visit https://www.militaryheroesupportfoundation.org.