Dale Earnhardt Jr. surprises Jacksonville vet ahead of Daytona 500

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – It’s a story which is sure to make Friday even better, a service man right here in the east honored for his dedication to America.

Paul Siverson is originally from Staten Island, New York. However, he now lives in Jacksonville.

Siverson said he joined the Marine Corps right after high school and planned to stay just two years, yet ended up serving 30 years.

He now works with a company named NC Serves, which he says is a way to give back to today’s military through services like healthcare to education.

He is also a huge NASCAR fan and specifically of Dale Earnhardt Jr.

With the Daytona 500 right around the corner, Goodyear decided to give the veteran a ride in the Goodyear blimp with a celebrity surprise.

After the flight, the two-time Daytona 500 winner gave Siverson another surprise.

“We wanted to give you a small donation for your foundation NC Serves,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr. “We appreciate your service in the military and everything you’re doing for veterans.”

“It was awesome,” said Paul Siverson, veteran. “I mean, how can you top meeting Dale Earnhardt Jr. in person? The donation that the Goodyear family gave to NC Serves is going to greatly help our efforts to reaching out to veterans.

Officials said the two spent around two hours getting know each other.

Siverson said it was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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