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Impact

Jimmy John’s, Kevin Harvick and One Teacher’s Big Heart

February 20, 2020
By Raj Prashad

For second-grade student Dylan Snyder, Valentine’s Day 2020 will be one he’ll never forget thanks to his physical education teacher, Bart Steffen and an unexpected partnership with Jimmy John’s.

Steffen has worked with Snyder since he started kindergarten in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Snyder was born with a heart issue that has required three surgeries and an inevitable heart transplant. That same heart issue is what has confined his physical exercise to riding a bike at school.

Over the last few years, Snyder has bonded with Steffen over racing. Steffen competes on dirt tracks in Wisconsin during the summer and would occasionally share pictures of his race car with Snyder. One day, Snyder asked Steffen if he could build him a race car like his.

“I knew how much he liked racing and how cool it would be for him to drive it up and down the hall,” said Steffen. “I wanted to do something to encourage him, to keep his spirits up.”

So Steffen got to work on building the structure, putting a few hours in every week since last August. He then reached out to Jimmy John’s in hopes of getting a sticker or two that would make his bike look like his NASCAR hero, Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 car.

Jimmy John’s did one better — the marketing team partnered with Stewart-Haas Racing to create a graphics package that would fit the exact specifications of Snyder’s revamped bike. Accompanied by a special message from Kevin Harvick himself, Snyder was stunned to receive his new custom ride.

“I thought Jimmy John’s would send a little sticker or something,” said Steffen. “A lot of people came together and turned this into something I never would have imagined.

“I just can’t believe all the work Jimmy John’s did. I was on the phone with the marketing team more than a dozen times and I’m so thankful they took the time to help us out. We’re forever grateful.”