Panther Racing Team Boss Receives Pentagon Honor

(Nov. 27, 2013) Panther Racing team owner John Barnes joined the likes of Walter Cronkite, Rudy Giuliani and former President George H. W. Bush when he was received the Spirit of Hope award during a ceremony at the Pentagon last week.

Adm. James A. Winnefeld, the vice chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, presented the award during a ceremony attended by Rep. Sanford D. Bishop Jr., D-Ga., Gen. Frank J. Grass, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, and other distinguished guests.

Barnes's Panther Racing team has operated the National Guard-sponsored car in the Indy Racing League since 2008. He was recognized for using that platform to help Guardsmen and other veterans find work.  

Winnefeld said that in the spirit of the special talent of veteran entertainer Bob Hope, for whom the award is named, the decision to recognize Barnes was easy.

“There are an awful lot of veterans out there today who are employed because of John Barnes’s direct efforts that connect them with employers across the country," Winnefeld said.

Barnes has been repeatedly recognized for great strides in challenging community leaders to work with Hiring Our Heroes, a group that advocates hiring veterans.

NGAUS is among the organizations that have recognized Barnes. The association presented him with a NGAUS Patrick Henry Award in 2012.
Barnes also contributes to the military in other ways. He and his wife, Jane, are members of the National Guard Educational Foundation's Legion de Lafayette, which is reserved for the foundation's highest financial donors.