Best Buddies Kentucky wins Betty Jane France award

LAS VEGAS (AP) The founder of ''Best Buddies Kentucky,'' an organization that promotes social inclusion for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, won the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award on Friday night.

Daniel Noltemeyer bested three other finalists to win the $100,000 donation from the NASCAR Foundation. He will also receive a 2015 Toyota Camry courtesy of Toyota.

The 32-year-old from Louisville, Kentucky, was chosen as the winner via an online vote on NASCAR.com. Noltemeyer has Down syndrome.

''I want to give back to an organization that has changed my life,'' Noltemeyer said. ''I have learned to be a strong advocate for myself and others with disabilities, but most of all, I have made special friendships.

''I want to expand programs to make friendships possible for everyone. It's like a dream come true to win this award to show the world how much someone with intellectual and developmental disability can accomplish.''

The other three finalists were Tammy Anderson-Lee from San Diego, who has developed innovative swimming programs for children with Autism; Amber Larkin of Windermere, Florida, founder of the Noah's Light Foundation which is involved in the fight against pediatric brain cancer; and Chris McElwee of Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, who started Michael's Way, an organization providing financial assistance to families dealing with a pediatric cancer diagnosis.

The humanitarian award honors the charitable and philanthropic efforts of the foundation's chairwoman, Betty Jane France. The foundation emphasizes efforts benefiting the lives of children in need.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.