A soldier whose actions likely saved the lives of hundreds of others in Iraq in 2004 will be memorialized on six-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Lowe’s Patriotic Chevy car at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday.
First Lt. Robert Lewis Henderson II will be memorialized on the windshield of Johnson’s car during NASCAR’s 600 Miles of Remembrance program during the Coca-Cola 600.
Henderson was a sales manager for the Lowe’s store in Bowling Green, Ky., and had also worked at three other Kentucky area stores in his 10 years with the company.
He also served in the National Guard for more than 15 years.
While deployed in Iraq, he was leading part of a convoy when his vehicle was ambushed.
Despite being wounded, Henderson turned his vehicle around and drove to a position where the vehicle could return fire and stop the rest of the convoy from heading into the ambush.
While he lost his own life, Henderson likely saved hundreds of others through his actions that day, Lowe’s said in announcing that Henderson will be memorialized on Johnson’s car.
Henderson was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, as well as a Kentucky Distinguished Service Medal.
He met his wife, Lisa, when they worked at the same Lowe’s store. They were married in January 2003 and kept in touch through letters and phone calls during his deployment. She was pregnant with their son, Peyton Joshua “P.J.” Henderson at the time of her husband’s death.
Henderson’s Lowe’s red vest was displayed among his childhood photographs and wedding portrait at his memorial service. After Henderson’s death, his co-workers wrote letters about him and made a baby blanket with well wishes for P.J. so he would know what kind of impact his father had made.
Lisa, P.J. and several other members of Henderson’s family will attend Sunday’s race.