KANNAPOLIS, N.C. – When a natural disaster strikes, coordinated efforts between architects, construction crews, local residents, individuals and volunteer groups focus their energies on recovery and rebuilding. Getting the area functioning as it was before the devastation becomes a priority for those involved.
While numerous organizations dedicate themselves to both relieving human suffering and the rebuilding efforts, the plight of animals affected by the disaster is almost an afterthought. That’s where Code 3 Associates, Inc., comes in. A 501(c)(3) non-profit, Code 3 is dedicated to providing professional animal disaster response and resources to communities, as well as providing professional training to individuals and agencies involved in emergency response. The group, founded in 1985, accomplishes its mission through hands-on animal rescue and care operations during disaster events in the United States and Canada.
Code 3 is mostly known for its dedication to animal rescue and recovery. However, Code 3 annually spend nearly 20 weeks traveling the country to provide a series of educational training courses to individuals and agencies involved in animal-related law enforcement and emergencies.
Many of Code 3’s students have utilized their training experiences to make substantial differences in their communities, including Krista Kurvers. A former law enforcement officer who worked with a K-9 unit, Kurvers now works with Code 3 as part of the group’s animal welfare training staff.
After leaving the force, Kurvers moved to Las Vegas, where she joined the city of Las Vegas as part of its Animal Control division. In 2007, when her supervisor brought Code 3 in for training, Kurvers found herself wanting to get more involved with the group. She attended every class she could and became certified in Cruelty Investigations and Equine Cruelty Investigations before taking training on the disaster preparations that are part of Code 3’s curriculum. In March of 2012, Kurvers joined Code 3 as a full-time employee. For her efforts with Code 3, she is getting to spend the Kansas race weekend as a special guest of the group.
Not only has Code 3 expanded its disaster response efforts, but the team of five full-time employees and 16 instructors has also increased its humane education class topics and reach. Code 3 has roughly 75 professional responders around the country with highly trained response team leaders and dedicated volunteers working to further the mission. Additionally, via a partnership with Colorado State University, more than 300 students a year have gone through training classes taught by Code 3 Associates.
Code 3’s partnership with driver Ryan Newman and the Stewart-Haas Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team is a natural fit, as animal rescue and welfare is a passion for both Newman and his wife Krissie, and the precise mission of the Ryan Newman Foundation. In addition to educating and encouraging people to spay or neuter their pets, the foundation also encourages people to rescue and adopt dogs and cats from animal shelters.
In 2005, an estimated 600,000 companion animals were killed, displaced or even trapped in homes where the animals were left to drown or starve when Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. Animals were refused entry to shelters, leaving their owners to make the difficult decision to abandon them in order to care for themselves.
In September of that year, after Hurricane Katrina struck, Krissie Newman and representatives from both Ryan Newman Motorsports and the Ryan Newman Foundation traveled to Gulfport, Miss., with supplies for people and their pets. The group spent a week traveling to New Orleans, Jefferson Parish and Slidell, La., to distribute the supplies and food to Hurricane Katrina victims. The experience opened the eyes of the Newmans about the tremendous need for disaster training for the pets and families with pets who are victims of disasters in our country. Since then, the Newmans have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars through their efforts with their foundation to support various animal causes.
Through years of growth and change, Code 3’s mission remains the same – to provide professional disaster response for animal needs, and to train individuals involved in animal-related law enforcement and emergency response to safely and effectively carry out their responsibilities to the animals and people in their communities.
RYAN NEWMAN, Driver of the No. 39 Code 3 Associates Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Does finishing well after having a not-too-spectacular run last week at Texas give you momentum? Does it at least give you confidence knowing that, if you’re not fast off the truck, you can overcome in the race? “Well, it’s a rebound, for sure, from our poor finish at Martinsville. It’s been like that this year, where we’ve been good one week, maybe two in a row, then we have a problem the next week. If we can get the valleys out of our drive, then the peaks will be that much better and we can keep climbing in the point standings. Overall, it was a good points weekend for us. A 10th-place finish isn’t bad, but it’s a lot better than 31st, where we qualified.”
You’re up to 17th in the point standings. You have four top-10 finishes. Brad Keselowski has the most of any driver with six. So, you’re right about the valleys. “If we can get rid of those valleys, it’ll be much better for us. But, our peaks need to get better, too. We need to be talking about having sixth-place top-10 finishes instead of 10th, and second-place top-five finishes instead of fifth. Those are the things we need to work on and, as a team, we’re doing that. It doesn’t ever come easy, in any form or fashion.”
What’s it like racing at Kansas Speedway since the reconfiguration? “It’s faster, obviously. We had a lot of grip with the tire compound that Goodyear brought last year, which is equally as important a part of the repave as the asphalt that’s used. We learned last year what a difference it made when the sun came out, what it did to the racetrack. It allowed us to lay more rubber down and move around more. The more laps we turned, the more rubber we put down, and the more the track changed.”