Talladega Native Robert Weaver, Known as "Ice Cream Man," and the Inaugural Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award Winner, Passes Away



TALLADEGA, AL (November 5, 2014) -- Talladega native Robert Weaver, the inaugural winner of the NASCAR Foundation’s Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award in 2011, passed away Wednesday. He was 86 years old.

Weaver, affectionately known across the Talladega region as the “Ice Cream Man” due to the many treats he delivered to the deaf, blind and multi-disabled students at the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB) for more than 50 years, personified what the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award stands for – annually honoring a dedicated NASCAR fan that made a profound impact on the lives of children in his or her local community.

A cornerstone of the AIDB family, “Mr. Weaver,” as he was called by the children, dedicated 30 hours a week to helping the organization. His many contributions ranged from creating intramural basketball teams and bowling programs to teaching students how to ride tricycles. A passionate NASCAR fan, Weaver was able to pair his hobby and his volunteer work when he asked his favorite driver, Darrell Waltrip, to host AIDB's initial fundraiser – Race Fever (held each spring at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame) - in 1986. Waltrip continues to be a part of the event, which is supported by Talladega Superspeedway and NASCAR annually.

“Robert was a staple in our community, an icon so to speak,” said Grant Lynch, Chairman of Talladega Superspeedway. “He grew up here and continued to give back to the area his entire life, bringing countless smiles to numerous kids. His thoughtful heart lives on through the children’s lives he touched over the years, and he will be missed.”

In receiving the first Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award, Weaver received an expense-paid trip to the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion's Week in Las Vegas, a Ford Explorer from Ford and $100,000 for the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind Foundation.  His comments that week live on today.

"I have often said that I don't hit home runs; I just do little things,” said an always smiling Weaver. “It is the little things that matter so much in people's lives. As I look back over my own life, working with the children of Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind has been part of my calling -- it is why I was put on this earth. It thrills me to see the smiles of the kids eating ice cream - getting it all over their face - and enjoying it. I am the highest paid employee of the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind. I get my check direct deposit – through my heart.”

Voting for the 2014 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award is currently underway at www.NASCAR.com/award and concludes at 11:59 p.m. ET on Dec. 4. Fans can join the conversation on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/NASCARFoundation and Twitter using the hashtag #BJFHAward.

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