Imagine having a NASCAR race named in your honor. Soldiers, firefighters, community leaders, and other inspiring figures have just that chance with Crown Royal® whisky's annual "Your Hero's Name Here" contest. The project awards one hometown hero with naming rights to the Brickyard 400 race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the main event of the Crown Royal Heroes Project, an ongoing commitment to recognize people who have a positive impact on their communities.
Each year, fans of Crown Royal are invited to nominate their personal heroes at the brand's Facebook page, where they can describe a heroic act by their nominee in 100 words or less. The winner is chosen from five finalists and revealed in a special ceremony leading up to the race. Honors include waving the green flag to signal the start of the race, and delivering the trophy bearing the contest winner's name in Victory Lane.
While the contest has been limited exclusively to adult military and service members in the past, it is now open to all unsung heroes 21 or older in communities nationwide.
2011 winner Matthew Hansen was nominated by his godmother for his service during three deployments to Iraq and for continuing to serve after losing his twin brother, best friend and fellow Marine, Daniel. Daniel was killed in action by a roadside bomb while supporting combat operations in Afghanistan. In honor of both brothers, the race was named the Matthew and Daniel Hansen 400.
Last year's hero, Curtiss Shaver, was nominated for exceptional service to his community in Troy, Ala., as a certified EMT, paramedic and lieutenant in the Troy Fire Department. Shaver lost his leg at age 18 in a severe farming accident; he went on to join the very fire department that had responded to his emergency.
In addition to "Your Hero's Name Here," the Crown Royal Heroes Project donates funds to national non-profit organizations and local charities, including Honoring Heroes, which was founded by retired firefighters, police officers and paramedics to support their colleagues and families in times of need.
Crown Royal also holds a series of celebrations and events where adult consumers get a chance to pack commemorative versions of the traditional purple Crown Royal bag with items to be sent to American troops overseas. For each bag packed, the whisky brand donates $10 to a local charity focused on supporting everyday heroes.
The 2013 "Your Hero's Name Here" campaign will kick off in February, with more details to be announced. To learn more about past heroes, go to CrownRoyal.com.