The 2021 NASCAR Salutes Together with Coca-Cola campaign is more than just a military appreciation platform — it‘s a campaign that salutes our heroes next door. Each week, NASCAR.com will highlight multiple individuals in the week‘s race markets that have made a difference with their service both in the military and to their communities.
In our first profile of a hero next door, NASCAR.com is highlighting U.S. Army Sergeant First Class (SFC) Ashley Neago, who is currently stationed at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Neago grew up in Massillon, Ohio, and joined the Army to follow in the footsteps of her grandfather, who served under General George Patton in World War II. She enlisted in the Army in 2010 and completed her basic and advanced training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, before being assigned to the 165th Military Police (MP) Company in Fort Leavenworth as a Correctional Specialist. During her 11 years in the Army, Neago has been assigned to work in Cuba, Fort Campbell, Kentucky and Fort Jackson, South Carolina, in addition to Fort Leavenworth.
In addition to her duties working with the Director of Correction Programs (DCP) staff at the Midwest Joint Regional Correctional Facility at Fort Leavenworth, Neago has spent a lot of time volunteering in her local community. She has also encouraged and motivated the soldiers under her responsibility to do the same. Since joining her post at the DCP in September, Neago has completed over 150 volunteer hours. That level of community service resulted in her being awarded the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal for the second time in her Army career.
“I volunteer to make a meaningful difference in the lives of soldiers and their families and to make a difference in our Fort Leavenworth community,” Neago said. “By volunteering with my soldiers, it has further resulted in a sense of satisfaction and achievement within my platoon. We have been able to build new friendships and become a cohesive team.”
Neago and her team volunteer weekly at the Fort Leavenworth Animal Stray Facility and the Fort Leavenworth Frontier Army Museum. The team recently sanitized the museum in order for it to stay within COVID guidelines and remain open. The group has also been working on repairing a new exhibit by patching, sanding and painting the walls of the museum. Neago has also volunteered her time at the Mission Food Pantry, Fort Leavenworth Rod and Gun Club, Leavenworth Lions Club, Wreaths Across America, and Boys Scouts of America.
Her volunteer work with the annual Wreaths Across America event at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery left an indelible mark and was one of the most rewarding experiences she has had volunteering.
“This year due to COVID families with loved ones in the cemetery could not attend in person so each time we laid a wreath in front of a grave, we said the name of the soldier and had a moment of silence,” Neago said. “We did this in their honor as they paid the ultimate sacrifice.”
Neago‘s sense of community and service extends to her Army family as well. She organized a drive-by baby shower for a soldier in need that followed COVID guidelines. Over the holiday season, she volunteered her time to work for soldiers so they could spend more time with their families. She did this while also being a single parent herself to her daughter. Her selfless leadership traits have earned her a nomination for the Army‘s 2021 Correction Professional of the Year.
When not serving her country, community and raising her daughter, Neago is working toward her Bachelor Degree in Homeland Security. She is an avid NASCAR fan who counts Kurt Busch as her favorite driver.