Marvin Panch, Legend and Gentleman
Topics: Marvin Panch
Jeremy T. Sellers
April 23, 2007
Visit Jerm's Joint online!
For some of us true fans of the sport, the name MIGHT ring a bell. Those of us who have been hanging in since the beginning probably smile when they hear the name. Then, there's us "newbies" (less than 15 years) who are just now starting up their time machines to travel back and become a student of what made the sport the icon it is today. I am one of these pupils. The last year has truly opened my eyes to the legends of NASCAR both living and passed. I would allude this experience to misplacing a toy as a child then finding it a couple years later, it's brand new again. As some of you are aware, my public service buddies have spent countless hours, materials, dollars, and late nights of beer-induced philosophy sessions converting my basement into a NASCAR-themed bar and brewery. November of 2006 saw a new challenge of us trying to find somewhere to put the ever-growing number of autographed pictures I was getting from drivers in every form of auto racing. This led to the development of a small "wall of fame" which divides one end of my bar from the rest of the basement. With this new found room, I used this opprotunity to tool around with the idea of seeking legend autographs which started during my trip to Daytona back in February. Since then, I've obtained in person autographs from Russ Truelove, Dick Fleck, and Ray Fox. It wasn't until recently I discovered Marvin Panch, his achievements, and the fact that he is alive and well!
Along with notching up 17 career victories (2 of which where he became the first driver to win both Atlanta races in 1965 and the first Pontiac to win the Daytona 500 in 1961), Marvin has several other presitigious accomplishments within the racing community. He was voted one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998 and an inaugural inductee into the Legends of Racing in 1993. For all of Marvin's accomplishments, go to www.marvinpanch.com.
Now that I've got all of this out of the way, I can get to the meat of the story. I ordered an autographed picture from his website, and explained we were a group of firefighters, EMT's, Paramedics, and Police Officers who share a passion for racing, it's history, and how we've constructed tribute to such in my basement. It was then I found out that Marvette Panch-Bagwell, Mr. Panch's daughter, handles all of his business affairs and is a wonderful woman. She first sent me an email apologizing for the delay in processing my order and thanked us for doing what we did for a living and that in some way, everyone depends on us. Shortly after, I received a confirmation email that the picture had been sent with tracking information included. Nothing special, correct? Today, I recievd a Priority Mail envelope in the mail and was excited to know what was inside. Not only did Mr. Panch sign "To the Guys at Jerm's Joint" on a picture of him speeding around the track back in the day, there was another black and white picture signed, "You Guys Rock"...It's this simple black and white that probably means more than the color picture addressed to my bar. You see, in this photo, Marvin is seen talking with a gentleman who has "Newell VFD" embroidered on the back of his jumpsuit with his fire engine in the background. With it, is a small note stating, "Thought you may like the old photo of dad in Charlotte sitting in the pits talking with a Newell Volunteer Fireman-check out their old firetruck in the back of the photo". Not only did Mr. Panch take the time to sign a racing photo for us humble public servants, but humbled us even more by finding a photo which included himself, our profession, and took the time to sign it to us as well. Guarantee that I will have the number 20 on my fire helmet as a tribute to "Project 20", the 1960 Pontiac which Marvin drove to a Daytona 500 victory in 1961. Thanks Mr. Panch, that meant to the world to us!
Firefighter/Paramedic Jeremy T. Sellers
Firefighter/Paramedic Michael L. Mausteller Jr.
Fireifhgter/EMT James F. Moeller
Officer Cody J. Anderson
Firefighter/EMT Cindy Longberry
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