(Special to Josh Plant)
Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee racer and inspirational advocate, Charlie Ray Howell recently brought a coveted Emmy Award home from Mid-America’s National Academy of Television Arts & Science Emmy Awards for his inspirational documentary, How do you handle Adversity?
In the Spring of 2017, Howell and Aligned Media Group teamed up to film the short documentary about Howell’s story of returning to his racing roots after sustaining a spinal cord injury. The video How do you handle Adversity? gives the world an inside look into the life of Howell as he returned to his racing career post-injury, despite being confined to a wheelchair.
Howell’s story is a little different than most Friday and Saturday night racers. Since birth Howell was diagnosed with O.I., known as the brittle bone disorder. In 2010 Howell sustained a spinal cord injury in an automobile accident that left him confined to using a wheelchair. His spirit was unbroken. He was determined to continue the sport he grew up loving, which was racing his Dirt Late Model on dirt tracks across the Mid-south.
Racing for Howell has always been a hobby since he was kid, but his challenges in life made him realize that it could also be be a source of inspiration as well as a career. He now uses his racing career to bring inspiration and awareness to others by spreading awareness about spinal cord injuries and O.I.
Howell, who is affected by both a spinal cord injury and O.I., wants everyone to know that no matter what shape you’re in or diagnosis you’ve been handed, to never give up in life and the dreams you desire.
Howell says, “Every racer’s ultimate goal is to win races and it’s mine as well. That’s the drive. But the true drive for me now is ‘Racing for those who can’t!’ I use the motivation and inspiration of those who can’t or are unable to due to their ailments, injuries and hardships. Racing to me is my passion, but my purpose now is to inspire as many people and fans as possible to never give up on your dreams, passions and goals.”
A year after the documentary was released and had received several thousand views on Facebook, YouTube and other media outlets, Aligned Media Group and Howell received word that the video was nominated for five Emmy Award mominations at Mid-America’s National Academy of Television Arts & Science Emmy Awards. With the notification Howell also received an invitation to attend the event.
On Saturday, September 22, Howell, his wife Anna and the Aligned Media Group sat anxiously in Kansas City at the Emmy Awards Ceremony as their nomination category Short Format Programming approached.
The group was more than elated, when it was announced that How do you handle Adversity? had been selected for the award. Excitement, tears and joy were felt as the group accepted one of television’s highest awards.
“I couldn’t believe it, we just won an Emmy Award, an Emmy!,” Howell stated. “Things like this don’t happen to people like me, a small-town racecar driver. I’m just a guy who uses racing as a torch to share my story, spread inspiration and live my dream. I never dreamed it would go this far, especially with the challenges I face just to live my dream. I am so grateful for Aligned Media Group and Permobil for this opportunity and accomplishment.”
Howell’s story has come so far from overcoming adversity, to racing with a disability, to spreading inspiration, and winning an Emmy Award. This is the beginning of bigger things to come from Charlie Ray Howell. Racing for those who can’t and spreading inspiration is the drive that keeps Howell moving forward.
The video How do handle Adversity? Can be seen at www.charlierayhowell.com.