The annual Night of Smiles shined brightly as attendees gathered to celebrate another successful giving year in 2017.

Officials of the Bristol Chapter of Speedway Childrens Charities (SCC) announced Thursday evening that it raised a substantial total of $805,000 that will be distributed to 93 rural-area child-focused agencies throughout Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

“We’re blessed every year to have the support from this wonderful region to help make a difference in the lives of children,” said Claudia Byrd, executive director of the Bristol Chapter of SCC. “While demand for assistance has always outstripped our ability to help, we are thoroughly delighted that we will be able to assist numerous agencies with their child-focused needs for this coming year.”

The event gathered multiple agencies to receive grants, including: Abuse Alternatives, American Red Cross, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of East Tennessee, CASA of Northeast Tennessee, Coalition for Kids, Family Crisis Support Services, Girls, Incorporated, Niswonger Children’s Hospital, Small Miracles Therapeutic Equestrian Center, TASK: Taking Action for Special Kids, Waiting to Hear, and Washington County Friends of Santa.

The  2017 Jeff Byrd Grant was also awarded to Waiting to Hear, a Johnson City-based non-profit organization dedicated to helping children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Presented in honor of the late general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway, the $50,000 award will help purchase a Mobile Hearing Screenings Unit. The plan for the unit is to help provide screenings and detailed hearing exams to children for free while setting children on a path to reach optimum hearing.

Night of Smiles is the culmination of a year of SCC fundraising events, including spring, fall and winter 5K races, golfing and shooting tournaments held during August Race Week, the Ultimate Bristol Experience Online Auction and The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights powered by TVA, which opens for its 21st season tomorrow at 6 p.m.


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