After being married for only a short time, Taryn Davis's husband Michael was killed in Iraq in May of 2007.
"People disregarded my grief or wrote it off because of my young age of 21 at that time. Or they wrote off Michael's sacrifice due to their political stances and you know, not being able to see him past the uniform," Davis said.
Davis says in the following months, she hit rock bottom and one night she had a revelation.
"That night I kind of said 'Okay, I can just kind of go through life as a zombie, a shell of a being. Or I can try to live for my husband until I can find a reason to live for myself. And I knew the first step in doing that would be in embracing the title that I've been given unwillingly...of a widow," Davis said.
So she began what eventually became a non-profit that's gained national attention, the American Widow Project.
"I wanted to meet these women. I wanted to ask them the questions that people had stopped asking me...how I fell in love, how I was notified. Most importantly ask them the question that I was still looking for the answer to which was 'What makes them get up every day and decide to live?'" Davis said.
The American Widow Project launched in July of 2008. Since then they've helped more than 1500 military widows and non-combat widows move on with their lives.
Recently, one of the many women the organization has helped nominated Davis to receive naming rights for the Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis courtesy of Crown Royal.
"I got on the phone and they called me and they're like 'Do you know what's going on?' and I'm like 'I don't know but my dad really does drink you every night so if I've won a bottle, man this is amazing!' And they're like 'Well it's a little bit bigger than that Taryn, but we'll send your dad a bottle.' And they did, they sent me 2," Davis said.
The Crown Royal "Your Hero's Name Here 400" is one of the summer's biggest NASCAR races. She and 4 other heroes are nominated.
After online voting, the winner will be announced at the end of June. And on July 28th, the race will be re-named in the winner's honor.
So it may very well end up being the "Taryn Davis 400."
"It's a little uncomfortable for me because I would love to call it the American Widow Project 400. I don't like my name being on it because I'm just one of thousands of military widows and widowers that are just trying to carry on our husbands legacy and I think in the midst of that, create our own," Davis said.
If you would like to vote you can do so at www.crownroyalheroes.com