Last month, Brantley Gilbert led a motorcycle ride for the Wounded Warrior Project; an event that was especially monumental for one United States Army veteran.
Former American sniper Justin Patterson attended Gilbert’s ride, marking one of the few times he has left his home in two years, due to the lasting effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”). To show the Big Machine recording artist appreciation for encouraging him to find it within himself to step out and participate in the ride, Patterson gave Gilbert a gift he will never forget.
During the presentation of the special item, Patterson told Gilbert:
What you are doing for us, you have no idea what that’s doing for us soldiers. I don’t know any other way to thank you.
He then reached into his pocket and removed his first Purple Heart and gave it to Gilbert as a keepsake of the moment and to represent his gratitude.
According to KHOU, Patterson was an Army sniper until a vehicle he was in was blown up by a roadside bomb in 2008. During his five years in Iraq and two years in Afghanistan, Patterson earned four Bronze Stars and three Purple Hearts. While a traumatic brain injury forever changed his life, he has been working with the Wounded Warrior Project and spending time riding bikes with other veterans.
Following the receipt of the gift that Gilbert says “means the world to [him]”, Taste of Country reports that Gilbert and Patterson have developed an ongoing relationship. Patterson supplemented that with information that the two talk or text almost daily.
Watch as Justin Patterson presents Brantley Gilbert with his Purple Heart: