A local marine who served in Iraq spent the weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), not as a fan or employee, but as the race namesake.
Described as a diehard NASCAR fan, Gunnery Sgt. Samuel Deeds of Erlanger, Kentucky dreamed of working in the sport after completing his service.
In June, Deeds was named the winner of Crown Royal's "Your Hero's Name Here" program, which awards one deserving individual naming rights to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race held Sunday at IMS. He was nominated by his wife, April.
While deployed in Iraq, Deeds came across an improvised explosive device (IED) while setting up a vehicle checkpoint. Upon seeing fellow Marines approaching, he exposed himself to the device, risking his life to save others. He was severely injured and underwent more than 30 surgeries and procedures following the blast. Three years later, while still recovering, Deeds' heroic instincts took charge once again when he saved the lives of three individuals caught in a rip tide off the coast of North Carolina.
During the 'Samuel Deeds 400 at the Brickyard', the Erlanger native hung out on stage with country singer Justin Moore and even presented Brickyard winner Ryan Newman with his trophy.
Deeds is now retired from his service in the Marines and is also a father of two boys.
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