NORTH CANTON One of the events that will remain firmly in the minds of many Americans from the just-concluded year is the tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas on Oct 1.
The shooting, which claimed the lives of 58 people and left hundreds more injured, was a horrific event that impacted families and individuals from around the country and all walks of life. North Canton business owner Shawn Magee wasn’t directly impacted by the shooting, but in the aftermath of the event, he decided to find a way to honor the memory of those who lost their lives.
Magee owns a design firm, SMD, that has a connection to the NASCAR Camping World Truck series. He and the No. 44 team, owned by Faith Motorsports, worked together on the project.
"I actually do a lot of work for Faith Motorsports because we’re official graphics partner of 44 team, and we actually handle all of the graphics that come out of Faith Motorsports," Magee said. "We do the truck wrap, the sponsor packages, though we’re not exclusive to that team. We also work with Monster Energy as well."
Magee came up with the idea to combine the normal paint scheme for the No. 44 truck with a tribute to the shooting victims. The new design for the new truck wrap was being finalized at the same time the shooting happened, sparking an idea in Magee’s mind.
"We thought it would touching gesture to pay honor to all of the lives by having their names laid out in the area on the bed of truck," Magee said. "To honor those victims, we placed all of the victims names below the graphics."
As part of SMD’s contract with Faith Motorsports, the company designs one primary paint scheme per year and this year, the chosen race for the SMD design was at the JAG Metals 350 at Texas Motor Speedway on Nov. 3.
The design blends the company’s normal colors, primarily lime green and black, with an image of the Las Vegas skyline and the words "Always remember." Below those words are the names of each person who died in the shooting and under the names is the date of the shooting, 10-01-17.
"We got a lot of press for the Vegas tribute and even though the truck ran into electrical and engine issues and wasn’t able to complete the race, it was still a great experience," Magee said. "We got a lot of positive PR, and a lot of local news outlets picked up the story. In some cases, the victims’ home towns picked up the story too."
At the race, Magee noted, many other teams competing in the event came over to see the design and expressed appreciation for the effort to honor the victims.
Magee pointed out that NASCAR placed a small decal on the side of cars to honor the victims after the shooting, but the No. 44 team was the only one to dedicate the entire design of a vehicle to the idea. In laying out the graphics, Magee wanted to keep it simple and respectful, yet find a message that would resonate across the country. The different landmarks included in the image of the Las Vegas skyline include some of the city's most iconic sites, including some from the Strip itself.
The special design may not have been a permanent fixture for the No. 44 truck, but that doesn’t mean the design will be forgotten.
"In this case, the wrap company is reproduced and they’re installing it on a large board because the owner of Faith Motorsports, Shane Lamb, is making it out for one of our colleagues who has a connection to the shooting," Magee said. "It will be finished and shipped out to that person in California so they can have it as a way to remember their loved one."
Having the design fashioned in a more permanent way has Magee hopeful that it will continue to remind people of those who were killed in the shooting and to honor their lives and memories. He also views the project as proof that even without a direct personal connection to the tragedy, it’s still possible to pay respects to and recognize the individuals who had their lives tragically ended that evening on the Las Vegas Strip.
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