BY LOUISE R. SHAW
Clipper Staff Writer
LAYTON — It looked like the race was over for the pale green race car made from pallets.
A wheel had popped off and the vehicle careened toward the crowd.
But then a young teen stepped forward and lifted the front of the vehicle, complete with its rider, and with the help of the two teens in the rear, carried it to the finish line.
It wasn’t really that heavy, said Karsyn Dahl afterward.
“We wanted Jeff to get across the finish line,” she said of Jeff Weston, a former student and current custodian at Clearfield High, who stuck with the vehicle despite the rough ride.
“Courage, honor, strength” were written across the back of Dahl’s T-shirt, using letters of CHS, who sponsored and built the vehicle.
They were qualities she exemplified as she refused to quit.
“We don’t do that at Clearfield High,” she said of quitting. “We finish what we start.”
It was the fifth annual PARC pallet car race last Friday, held once again in the parking lot at Layton Hills Mall, and there was drama all around.
Cars were built from pallets related to the theme of the “Hero Within,” and with no engines or brakes, they were pushed and stopped by old-fashioned manpower.
Businesses, high schools and Weber State built race cars and provided their pushers.
But the vehicle that won not only for speed but for design was backed by the family of Melinda Gulbranson, who rode the “Princess Power” pallet car to victory.
Fred Buchler designed the vehicle, and the Rogers and Gulbranson families decorated it. Parker Wilcox and Mike Hatch pushed.
Those who rode in each vehicle were affiliated with PARC, an organization that works to help those with special needs prepare for and find jobs.
“This is so meaningful,” said Jim Smith, Davis Chamber of Commerce president, between flashing the checkered flag to indicate who crossed the finish line first. “They can do so many jobs and we don’t give them a chance. PARC allows people with disabilities to contribute.”
The pallet race not only brings attention to PARC, but helps provide funding, said Chad Miller, marketing manager for PARC.
“It helps people know the capabilities of those with disabilities and builds the partnerships we have and want to have,” said Miller.
PARC employs 85 individuals at the center, and another 450 are employed elsewhere in the community, he said.