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Vote for a deserving hero in Crown Royal contest

May 29, 2013, Staff report,

Vote for a deserving hero

Select a story below to learn more about these heroes who REIGN ON. Vote for the hero you'd like to honor with naming rights to the Brickyard 400. Voting is allowed once per day and ends June 9.

Deputy Marshal Stephen Brady

Brady, 48, of Pleasant Lake, Ind., has humbly served the state as an EMT, firefighter and police dispatcher and is currently a deputy marshal of the Waterloo Police Department. In December 2011, while responding to an early morning call about a couple in need of help, Brady spotted a man and woman walking and called out to them. As he was standing next to his patrol car trying to converse with the couple, the man pulled out a gun and shot Brady in the face. The bullet entered the left side of his face between his eye and ear, it and exited behind his right ear. After miraculously surviving the gunshot wound, Brady was back on the streets serving his community just 11 months later and received a Purple Heart from the Police Officers Hall of Fame. Brady says of the program, “Just to be affiliated is a prestigious honor,” and looks forward to attending his home state’s NASCAR race. | Click here to vote

American Widow Project Founder Taryn Davis

Davis, 27, of San Marcos, Texas, is founder and executive director of the American Widow Project. Davis was nominated by a friend for her support and encouragement for women and men who have lost loved ones through military combat and non-combat. At the age of 21, she lost her husband of just over a year during his deployment in Iraq, leaving Davis to go on living her life without him. After months of grieving, she contacted other military widows and widowers to learn how they continued living their lives while honoring their husbands' or wives' legacies. This began what is now the American Widow Project, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 2007 to provide military widows support by empowering, inspiring and assisting in rebuilding their lives in the face of tragedy through their peer-to-peer and educational programs. Since its founding, Davis and her team have supported more than 1,500 widows on their journeys to carry on the legacy of those they love and reclaim their own lives. Excited to share her first NASCAR experience in Indianapolis with the thousands of military widows across the country, Davis views this nomination as a true honor. | Click here to vote

Gunnery Sergeant Samuel Deeds

Deeds, 35, of Independence, Ky., is a retired Marine whose selfless actions saved the lives of many fellow Marines in Iraq. During his deployment in 2005, Deeds came across an improvised explosive device (IED) while setting up a vehicle checkpoint on Khandari Market Road near Abu Ghraib Prison. When he saw two of his fellow Marines approaching the area, Deeds exposed himself to the IED to warn them of danger. He was severely injured by the blast, undergoing 30-plus surgeries and procedures since then, and has received awards which include a Navy and Marine Corps Medal, Purple Heart, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, Combat Action Ribbon and Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal. In 2008, Deeds’ heroic instinct again kicked in when his actions saved the lives of three individuals who were caught in a rip tide off the shore of North Carolina. Deeds has been a NASCAR fan his whole life and, when he was younger, dreamed of someday working in the sport. He enjoys sharing his passion for NASCAR with his sons, two-year-old Myles and six-year-old, Micah, who goes to every race with Deeds. He is excited to experience the race weekend in Indianapolis with his wife, April, who he calls his hero for staying by his side throughout everything, and is most looking forward to taking in the rich history of the track. Deeds’ grandfather used to tell him stories about his first race, the Indianapolis 500, so to have his name on that venue would mean the world to him. | Click here to vote

LAPD Officer Deon Joseph

Joseph, 40, of Los Angeles, Calif., is a Senior Lead Officer for the Los Angeles Police Department. With 17 years of experience at the LAPD, Joseph has spent the past 14 serving as a liaison between the LAPD and the people who make up the community in the Central City East area of downtown LA, commonly referred to as Skid Row. Joseph has assisted over 150 homeless citizens and has launched a hygiene initiative to help aide those still on the streets. Additionally, he has created programs including ‘Just Like You,’ which mentors the youth of Skid Row to become more than a product of their environment and ‘Ladies Night,’ a program that has reached over 800 women, which teaches self-defense and encourages them to report acts of violence. As part of his commitment to the community and dedication to creating an environment conducive to change, Joseph recently aided in removing 80 drug dealers from the streets of Southern California. If he receives the grand prize, Joseph says, “not only would it put a smile on my face, but I would be able to show my father how he raised me has allowed me to do incredible things. This would be more for him than for me, to thank him for being my hero.” | Click here to vote

Firefighter & EMT Kenneth Kurth

Kurth, 26, of Debary, Fla., is a firefighter and paramedic for the Kissimmee Fire Department. An avid NASCAR fan, Kurth works as an EMT for every race held at Daytona International Speedway and was one of the first medical responders to report to the scene of the crash that took place at the end of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Race on February 23, 2013. After crawling through the wrecked fence, Kurth began initiating patient care by identifying those who were injured in the grandstands, assessing their needs and helping to transport them to nearby medical facilities. During his childhood, Kurth visited the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum with his grandfather, who he considers his hero and looks forward to returning to the famed track in his honor. | Click here to vote