Four-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Jeff Gordon visited Greensburg Thursday to tell students how inspiring they were to the community and the world.

    "It makes you proud to be an American when you see how this small town has inspired so many people," Gordon said.

    Gordon went on to tell students that they could do anything, especially as they have touched people around the world, inspiring them and setting a good example.


Four-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Jeff Gordon visited Greensburg Thursday to tell students how inspiring they were to the community and the world.
    "It makes you proud to be an American when you see how this small town has inspired so many people," Gordon said.
    Gordon went on to tell students that they could do anything, especially as they have touched people around the world, inspiring them and setting a good example.
    "When you come together as a team with a goal you want to accomplish there's nothing that's going to stop you," he said.
    Gordon spent time answering students' questions about his career, childhood and family, and told the audience how important his wife and 15-month-old daughter were in his life.
    He also told those curious about his cars that when he's not on the racetrack he spends a lot of time driving a hybrid Chevy Tahoe.
    After answering questions, Gordon talked to students while signing T-shirts, cards and caps.
    "I watch him on NASCAR," said Trevor Tyree, an eighth-grade student. "It's pretty cool that he came here."
    This June, Gordon visited Greensburg for the first time following the devastation of May 4, 2007, when a tornado destroyed most of the city.
    Gordon was at the groundbreaking of eight homes, including two for Habitat for Humanity. His sponsor, DuPont, donated $750,000 of building materials for the project. DuPont contributed their products to build homes that are eco-friendly and equipped with enhanced tornado safety features.
    "This project is very important to us because of our views on sustainability and community," said Larry Deas, manager of DuPont motor sports.
    Deas said Gordon's visit to Greensburg earlier this year had a significant impact on him personally and made him want to come back because he wanted to interact with the kids and families.
    And Gordon spent his day doing just that.
    During the afternoon, he visited with the two families who had a home built for them this summer by Habitat for Humanity.
    The Torres family moved into their new home just two days ago. 
    "It's a big blessing," said Dianna Torres, an X-ray technician at Greensburg hospital. "It's much more than I expected. Four months ago I didn't know what I was going to do or where I was. And now I know where I am."
    Torres' son Erik plays football and her daughter De'Nae is a tennis player at the high school.
    Gordon gave the family tickets to the Kansas 400 where he will be competing Sunday in Kansas City, Kan. 
    Gordon isn't done yet, either. He said he is looking for other ways to be involved with future projects in Greensburg, possibly at the hospital.
    Throughout Gordon's career he has worked with children, many of whom are struggling with life-threatening illnesses.
    Since the Jeff Gordon Foundation began in 1999, it has provided resources to centers for pediatric research and care. Money raised by the foundation has also been used to purchase equipment and advance research for many life-threatening diseases.
    The foundation partners with organizations such as The Make-A-Wish Foundation, The Marrow Foundation, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Jeff Gordon Children's Hospital in Concord, N.C. 
     Gordon said it was truly inspiring to see the people of Greensburg make the decision to rebuild and make it even better than it was before.
    "I want to come back and I want to keep coming back," he said.

Reach Cherise Forno at (620) 408-9931 or e-mail her at cherise.forno@dodgeglobe.com.