MY INSPIRATION BEHIND THE ROAD HOME 4x4 CHARITY DRIVE
I’m asked quite often what inspired me to start the Clay Egan Racing - Road Home - 4x4 - Charity Drive and why I do it each year?
In 2009 at the end of October to the first of November, I had the opportunity to play a homeless character named Keagan in a film called Elizabeth’s Gift, written and directed by my good friend Rob Diamond. At the time I had just finished the pilot to my TV series, Jack’d Up. One afternoon I ran into Rob and showed him the trailer to my new series. He loved it and said, “I’m starting to film a new movie I’ve written and need a couple of homeless characters, why don’t you come and be in my new film, Elizabeth’s Gift?”
Up until that point in my life I had done quite a bit of TV but had never acted in anything before. I never aspired to be an actor but I did like being on TV as myself. Trying to wrap my head around being someone else was never really my thing but I was excited to give it a try. A little uncertain, I agreed and a couple of weeks later I found myself on the set, with a small part in my first movie.
When I got to the set on my first day, I knew nothing about the story line of the movie. I only knew I was playing a homeless guy named Keagan. I was told to be on set at 8:00 A.M. and I’d be called out when it was time for me to film my part. By the time it was time for me to film my first scene it was about 4:30 P.M. After about 3 minutes of filming my first part was shot and I was done for the day. It seemed like it was one of the longest days of my life. I’d been outside freezing all day and eight and a half hours later I finally had my big debut. All day I was miserable from the cold. I kept thinking to myself, I would hate to be homeless and it’s not even the coldest part of the winter yet.
On the second day, I got to the set at 8:00 A.M. again, and again I was outside freezing in the cold waiting for my second part of filming. Up until this point I still didn’t have a full understanding of what this film was about. I was told what to do and say but hadn’t ever read the full script.
Later that night I had gotten home and while I was trying to warm up through the night, I couldn’t sleep. I awoke at 1:00 A.M. and was deep in thought about this film. I had all of this inspiration all of a sudden. So I started to write a poem about Elizabeth’s Gift, which ironically I called the poem Elizabeth’s Gift. It flowed out of me like something I’d never experienced before. I still did not know how this movie was supposed to end but something inside of me did.
To make a long story short, I finished the poem and then posted it on my Facebook page. Rob must’ve not been able to sleep either because when I showed up on set the next morning he came up to me and said, “Dude, I saw your poem last night and it brought tears to my eyes. Can we please use it in the film?” I was a little taken back but of course I agreed to let him use it.
The poem ended up being read in the film by the main homeless character whose name was Frank. Frank was a crazy Vietnam vet and in the film he had written the poem for a fundraiser banquet that was being held at the homeless shelter in which he lived.
There was no hope
From whence she came
No calm no peace
She had no name
Only sorrow and pain
From guilt and shame
One white rose
Brought depth and change
A reason to give
From one woman’s heart
Gave a little girl a chance
And a brand new start
A beautiful homeless child
And one white rose
Brought one ray of light
It’s what Elizabeth chose
But Elizabeth’s Gift
Is what shown through
And now a new path
That nurtured and grew
There was this gift
From Heaven above
From tragic Death
Came stability and love
But it was Elizabeth’s Gift
That gave meaning to their life
She saved a little girl
And brought back husband and wife
Having a part in this movie did two things to me. The first it cured me of ever wanting to be an actor and play in another movie again. Haha! The process was so boring. Sit around for ten hours a day to film your 3 minute part was not my thing. The second thing it did was it inspired me to want to do something for our local homeless. I was only on set a total of three days of filming. It was miserable because I was so cold. It made me so grateful for the warm home I have. I would never want to be homeless. I can’t imagine what those people go through.
At that time, I wanted to do a fundraiser or something for our local homeless shelter when Elizabeth’s Gift came out but never got around to doing that. On Thanksgiving Day, 2014, I had this weird inspiration to drive downtown and drive by our local shelter The Road Home and see what was going on down there. I was blown away by all of the people. I could not believe all of the women and children and men that were down on the street in front of the Road Home. There were literally hundreds of people lining that block. It was right then and there that I knew I had to do something and so 5 years after I’d filmed Elizabeth’s Gift, on December 24, 2014 the Clay Egan Racing, Road Home, 4x4 Charity Drive was born.
We had a huge turn out that year and it just keeps getting better. God works through us in mysterious ways sometimes. I’ve always tried to be open to his whispers or still small voice and act on those little inspirations. I never would have guessed being in a little independent film, which was based on a true story, could inspire so much in me. For that I will always be grateful and will always try and serve our homeless and those who are less fortunate.
I would encourage you all to watch Rob’s film Elizabeth’s Gift. You can get it on Amazon.
It’s an amazing story about a little girl named Elizabeth, who dies at a very young age from a rare heart condition and how her mother finds peace and healing and her new gift, by serving at her local homeless shelter.
Thank you Rob for being my muse in this Charity Drive!
ELIZABETH’S GIFT MOVIE TRAILER