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Soap Box Derby Receives Significant Financial Gift From The Bill Speeg Family

Bill Speeg 2016Bill Speeg

In tribute to her late husband Bill Speeg and his  passionate support of the Soap Box Derby, Kelly Speeg has made a significant financial gift to the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby Scholarship Fund. 

The gift, which is the largest donation from an individual in the Derby’s history, will be used to provide scholarships for the champions of the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby World Championship race, which is celebrating its 79th anniversary on July 16 at the world famous Derby Downs track in Akron, Ohio. Moving forward the scholarship fund will be named "The Bill Speeg Memorial Scholarship Fund."

“We are touched by the generosity of the Speeg family,” said Derby Board Chairman Kevin Thomas. “The Derby was a big part of Bill’s life and we’re pleased to honor him by renaming the scholarship fund.”

Bill Speeg, of Valley Center, Calif., was 46 when he passed away in 2014. His involvement with the Soap Box Derby began in 1999, when his daughter Ashley began to race. Speeg quickly became involved in local Oceanside and statewide California Soap Box Derby activities, serving as a board member and in other official capacities. The Speeg family traveled to races throughout the country where he offered technical support, financial assistance and mentoring to many young racers. He had served as a Regional Director for nearly 10 years at the time of his death.  He was vice president of Freeberg Industrial Fabrication Corp. in Escondido, Calif.

Speeg will be inducted into the Derby’s Hall of Fame as part of the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby race day awards program at Akron’s E.J. Thomas Hall on Saturday, July 16, at 7 p.m.

"We are truly overwhelmed by the generosity of Bill’s family," said Derby President and CEO Joe Mazur. "Thanks to their charitable contributions, we will be able to continue the long history of providing financial assistance to the greatest gravity racers in the world to help them further their education."

More than $36,000 in college scholarships will be awarded to division finalists at the world championship races in July.

“The Speeg family is very grateful for this opportunity to honor Bill,” said Kelly Speeg. “For all of you whose lives were touched by Bill, we respectfully ask you to join us in supporting the scholarship fund.”                    

A permanent display will be added to the Derby Downs starting line structure in honor of Bill Speeg.