A Florida veteran — and the city of Winter Park — will star in their very own Super Bowl commercial on Sunday.
The spot, titled "Hero's Welcome," was filmed Jan. 8 in downtown Winter Park. Army Lt. Chuck Nadd, newly returned from deployment as a helicopter pilot in Afghanistan, took a flight to Sanford and was driven into Winter Park.
Nadd had been told by his commanding officer that he'd be filmed for a documentary on returning veterans. His girlfriend, Shannon Cantwell, was in on the deception and accompanied him from the airport.
He arrived in Winter Park to find the Budweiser Clydesdales, a marching band, cheerleaders and hundreds of flag- and sign-waving spectators awaiting his arrival.
Nadd and Cantwell rode the parade route atop the Budweiser wagon, pulled by the Clydesdales, as confetti rained around them.
The brewer was tightlipped at the time about where the footage would be used, but confirmed Tuesday that it will run during Super Bowl XLVIII, pitting the Denver Broncos against the Seattle Seahawks. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. Sunday on Fox.
Nadd was chosen to represent all returning veterans in the commercial after being nominated by Cantwell for the honor through the VFW, Budweiser said. The commercial was originally planned to be 30 seconds, but during the editing process, the company decided to expand it to 60 seconds.
"There was just so much good footage, we couldn't resist expanding the spot to include more of Lt. Nadd's homecoming," said Budweiser Vice President Brian Perkins.
Winter Park Mayor Kenneth Bradley was pleased to hear his city would play a prominent role on Super Bowl Sunday, calling the exposure on a worldwide stage "priceless."
"The welcoming home of Lt. Nadd, representing all those who served, is a very worthy event. It was a very special day, and it's just such a special recognition," he said. "It just makes me very, very proud.
"It's good for Winter Park, it's good for Central Florida and most important it's good for all those who have served," Bradley said.
The commercial will launch a year-long social media campaign honoring the U.S. military, Budweiser said.