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Wounded Army Veteran Gives Brantley Gilbert His First Purple Heart

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There’s not much that will ever compete with the gift Brantley Gilbert received from an Army veteran last month. Justin Patterson, a former sniper who says he’s barely left the house in two years due to symptoms from PTSD, joined Gilbert on his motorcycle ride for the Wounded Warrior Project. Then, he said thank you in the most unbelievable way.

Watch as Patterson tearfully gives the “One Hell of an Amen” singer his first Purple Heart.

“What you are doing for us,” the burley Patterson begins, “you have no idea what that’s doing for us soldiers. I don’t know any other way to thank you.”

The moment came over Memorial Day weekend, which Gilbert spent riding with vets. It’s not the first time he’s hit the road to support American soldiers. In May 2014 he used time around the release of his Just as I Am album to do something similar for Folds of Honor. Patterson didn’t know who Gilbert was prior to the ride. He told KHOU-TV in Houston he was blown away by the star’s commitment and humility.

“I get goosebumps just talking about it,” he says. “But there’s just not enough help out there. You know, for this guy to take time out of his tour and put his two cents in went a long way.”

Patterson was an Army sniper until 2008, when a vehicle he was in was blown up by a roadside bomb. KHOU reports that he earned four Bronze Stars and three Purple Hearts during his five years in Iraq and two years in Afghanistan. The traumatic brain injury forever altered his life, but he’s been able to begin working with the Wounded Warrior Project and frequently rides with other veterans.

“You know, the fact is that 22 veterans a day take their own lives,” Patterson says. “And that’s just heartbreaking.

“This thing means the world to me,” Gilbert says after receiving the unimaginable gift, adding that he just made a lifelong friend. Patterson says the same — the two now talk or text nearly every day.

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