One day when South Carolina pharmaceutical company owner George “Chip” McEwan was flying from Las Vegas to his home in Fort Meyers, Fla., a flight attendant asked the passengers to remain seated to let a wounded veteran leave the plane. McEwan told David Grening of Daily Racing Form that he expected to see an elderly veteran, but instead it was a man in his twenties, walking with the help of his father, accompanied by his wife and two small kids. “I said to my fiancée, who was crying, we need to do something for people like that,” McEwen told Grening. “Their entire circle is affected forever. Prior to that, I was one of those people, I’d buy a $2 bracelet, buy a T-shirt or a bumper sticker and call myself a proud supporter of wounded war veterans.” McEwan realized he could do more to help, so he changed the mission of the stable of racehorses he owns.
McEwan changed his stable’s name from McEwan Racing to Wounded Warrior Stables, and McEwan donates ten percent of the winnings from his racehorses to charities serving wounded or disabled veterans, including the service-dog providing Retrieving Freedom and Task Force Dagger Foundation, which helps families who’ve lost a member at war.
McEwan’s horses wear yellow silks with a purple heart on the chest, meant to evoke the Purple Heart medal that wounded veterans receive, and although his most promising horse, Uncle Sigh, has a long way to go to become a Kentucky Derby contender, it’s a safe bet that the good McEwan’s doing for wounded veterans will result in a lot more racing fans cheering him on.