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Joe Sedotto never forgets those who serve

A flagman waves the green flag at Riverhead

A flagman waves the green flag at Riverhead Raceway. (July 16, 2011) Credit: Daniel Brennan

The back of Joe Sedotto's car that he drives at Riverhead Raceway reads www.woundedwarriorproject.org.

That's the way it's been for the three years the Mattituck resident has been racing at the track. And despite not receiving any monetary compensation from the veterans service organization, that's the way it will remain, Sedotto said.

"They don't give me anything and I wouldn't take anything,'' said Sedotto, 49, who is sponsored by Titan Global LLC.

"I just want to raise awareness about our wounded veterans and I just want their name announced at the track every week. Being a retired military member, I feel so strongly about it.''

Sedotto joined the U.S. Army in 1989 and retired as a major in 2010. He was stationed in Germany, Korea, Colorado and Kentucky before finishing in the Air National Guard in Westhampton.

Sedotto, who competes in the legends car division, said that he has received offers from potential sponsors interested in buying space on his vehicle, but he does not entertain them.

"I've had other people approach me and say I'd give you $500 or whatever to put a name on the car, but I would never take it,'' Sedotto said. "I would never give that space up. Even if someone offered $1,500 I would not take it.''

Sedotto participated in one of the Wounded Warrior Project's Soldier Rides seven years ago on Long Island. It's a cycling program which raises awareness for the needs of injured service members.

"People who think Long Island is flat, it's not,'' Sedotto said. "I was on a mountain bike, huffing and puffing but I did not quit.''

He added that he was inspired after seeing some of the injured veterans give it their all.

"That's why this country is so good. You see the men and women that come back, and you see them on these rides and you become just amazed by them and their drive,'' Sedotto said. "Your life problems become smaller after seeing them and you just want to do the most you can for them.''

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