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Tagliani, St. Pete race helping veterans in need

Mar 22, 2013, 11:00 PM EDT

Indianapolis 500 Getty Images

Barracuda Racing driver Alex Tagliani has donated his race helmet for this weekend’s Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg to military charity Wish For Our Heroes.

According to Jim Tomlin of the Tampa Bay Times, the helmet has been put on eBay for a one-week auction that will benefit military members in need throughout the Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg region.

“I have a hard time saying no,” Tagliani told the Times. “I can’t donate all my helmets. But when it makes sense and when it [hits] my heart, it’s something I can do.”

Leading up to this weekend’s event, Wish For Our Heroes and race organizers announced a “wish fund” to help veterans be able to attend the race through donations from individuals and businesses that would be used to purchase tickets for those who serve.

A veteran, former U.S. Army Specialist Charlie Lemon, will be the grand marshal for Sunday’s event and also give the command to start engines to the 25-car field. Lemon, 30, lost his legs while on a mission in Iraq two years ago.

Wish For Our Heroes, along with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indiana National Guard, has also set up a “wish fund” for sending troops to this year’s Indianapolis 500. If you’d like to help the cause, click here.

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