Hometown Hero honored at NASCAR

By Amanda Porterfield | aporterfield@wcia.com

Published 06/27 2014 04:36PM

Updated 12/12 2014 10:55AM

CHAMPAIGN -- This week's Our Town was dedicated to America's favorite sports car, the Corvette. But, our Hometown Hero got special honors at America's favorite race. WCIA-3's Amanda Porterfield introduces us to the man recognized at NASCAR this year.

For just about anyone, getting a free trip to NASCAR would be a dream come true. But this year, the whole race at Talladega was dedicated to Dallas Bragg.

"Got to meet a lot of people I never thought I would be able to meet. We spent the rest of the day next to Jeff Gordon's pit car and Dale Jr.'s Pit car. You can't explain that feeling when you meet some of these guys you have grown up watching on TV."

The Armed Forces Foundation honored him in front of thousands of people. He even had a sticker with his name on the back of Kurt Bush's car.

"When they introduced me, you could hear the fans, the crowd. I am a pretty good NASCAR fan. My dad is even bigger, so it meant everything to him. I think I could just see how proud he was."

Bragg served in the Marines, then enlisted in the Army after that. He's been blown up five times by IED's and came home with TBI and PTSD.

"I think there was a reason, a reason I survived and kept going."

There's a special someone who helps him keep going. Her name is Freda.

"That's one of the biggest things in the military. You always had your battle buddy next to you to watch your back and you watch theirs. That's what she does."

He takes her everywhere, even on his trip to Talladega.

"We are together all the time. She is just part of me. If I am getting anxious about something, she will come over and lay her head on my lap. I will pet her and think about that instead of whatever is going on. She spent most of her time in the hauler. The guys were all there feeding her water. I think she enjoyed that."

With her by his side, Bragg says he's going to use any chance he can to talk about PTSD.

"A lot of us have PTSD and TBI and it's something that we can't forget about."

Especially after seeing thousands of people who really do care.

"It kind of opened my eyes to how people do appreciate some of the service members. You don't see it everyday."

Bragg says he doesn't know where he will be next, but he will continue going to events to be an example for veterans with PTSD.

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