The announcement was made during Wednesday night’s CMT Music Awards program. Walding, a native of Little Elm, Texas, is an Army veteran. During his 12 years of active service, he completed tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. He lost part of his right leg while involved in a firefight in 2008. He has been awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Combat Infantry Badge.
The 2014 Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, scheduled for July 27, will be the third Cup event at the track to be sponsored by Crown Royal and named in honor of a member of the military. From 2007 through 2011, the brand was involved in a similar initiative at Richmond International Raceway.
“The fact that Crown Royal cares enough to say ‘thank you’ for what I’ve done is a true validation for my sacrifice,” Walding said following the announcement. “The magnitude of those two words goes above and beyond.”
Walding became the first amputee to graduate the Special Forces Sniper School, and competed in the Army 10 miler as well as the Boston Marathon (the latter in 2009 while utilizing a hand cycle). He is the founder of Five Toes Custom, which produces handcrafted precision rifles and provides support and direction for wounded veterans.
He and his wife, Amy, have four children.