Country music star Brantley Gilbert has had such a prolific career in only a few years. He has won Best New Artist of the Year, Song of the Year and the Triple Play Award at the Country Music Awards. However with all of that remarkable hardware, he may have received his greatest reward last week in the most unlikely of places.
Justin Patterson was a sniper for the U.S. Army that bravely went on five grueling tours in Iraq and spent two years in Afghanistan. In 2008, he was in a vehicle that was blown up by a bomb planted in a road. Paterson suffered a traumatic brain injury from the explosion and was sent home.
“After you’ve gone through 50 or so IED’s, it’s just you’re not the same,” Patterson said. “It’s just like having Alzheimer’s or dementia.”
The Hell of war has taken it’s toll on Patterson and has been tortured every day with the agony of post-traumatic stress disorder. The hardened veteran hasn’t really left his house in two or three years due to symptoms from his PTSD.
Patterson sought help from the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization that helps raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, helps injured service members assist each other and provides direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.
During Memorial Day weekend, Gilbert donated his time to go on a Wounded Warrior-sponsored motorcycle ride through Southeast Texas and Louisiana. Patterson had never heard of Gilbert, but was instantly taken aback from his generosity.
Justin was nervous and emotional as he expressed his true feelings and utmost appreciation for Brantley’s benevolence:
“I can’t give you a Grammy, I can’t give you a Country Music Award. I could thank you a million times, but I have a gift for you. My blood, sweat and tears are on this and that’s how I earned it. What you’re doing to raise awareness and taking the time with us broken-ass soldiers means the world to me. I’d like to give you my first Purple Heart.”
FUCK. That onion-cutting ghost is back in my apartment!
Patterson and Gilbert embrace in a heartfelt hug. Then the Army veteran jokes, “If you need a date to the Country Music Awards, I’m your girl.”
“This thing means the world to me,” the country music singer said. “And I found a lifelong friend named Justin Patterson.”
Patterson said they talk and text almost every day.
Excuse me I have to go get some tissues, err I mean go chase that onion-cutting ghost out of my house.
As we wrap up our second Memorial Day Weekend ride with our parters Wounded Warrior Project and Harley-Davidson in an…
Posted by Brantley Gilbert on Monday, May 25, 2015