Medical Center Dedication Memorializes Ernie Thurston
Watkins Glen International dedicates infield care center in honor of Ernie Thurston
The naming of the Ernie Thurston Medical Center took place this morning at a ribbon cutting ceremony.
WATKINS GLEN, NY – Watkins Glen International is proud to announce the dedication of their infield care center to area native and long-time safety and emergency services leader, Ernie Thurston. The naming of the Ernie Thurston Medical Center took place this morning at a ribbon cutting ceremony. After spending a lifetime in the service of others, Thurston passed away in November.
A native of Watkins Glen, NY, Thurston returned to his hometown after serving as an Airman First Class in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War. Shortly after his return, Thurston served as deputy sheriff and fire coordinator for Schuyler County, and held public office as a county legislator. In 1985, Thurston became the Director of Race Operation at Watkins Glen International. Thurston’s wealth of knowledge and passion for safety and emergency services lead him to Daytona Beach, FL and International Speedway Corporation headquarters, where he oversaw all race facilities and events as Corporate Coordinator of Track Safety and Emergency Services.
After many years of service, Thurston was posthumously named the 2014 Jim Bockoven Lifetime Achievement Award winner by NASCAR. The Jim Bockoven Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes the contributions of an individual made to the improvement of track services over the course of a career spanning 10 or more years. This award is not awarded annually, therefore the recipient’s contributions must be considered to be exemplary.
“Ernie’s spirit and dedication were beyond compare and his name will forever be synonymous with American motorsports,” stated President of Watkins Glen International, Michael Printup. “Although often working behind the scenes, Ernie’s efforts were never taken for granted and will continue to ensure a safe experience at our facilities. No award or dedication can ever express our appreciation for his passion which was a genuine gift to motorsports, his community, and this great country.”