Brantley Gilbert made a lifelong friend on a recent motorcycle ride with the Wounded Warrior Project when Staff Sgt. Justin Patterson decided to thank the country star in an unexpected way, giving him his first Purple Heart medal.

Saying he earned the medal with his own blood, sweat and tears, Patterson presented the gift to Gilbert in a video that has quickly gone viral. The kind-hearted vet then appeared on Fox & Friends to tell the story and was surprised when Gilbert decided to return the favor.

A sufferer of PTSD, Patterson said joining the Wounded Warriors was the best thing he could have done, and it's helped him to recover.

"Ever since I signed up, it's been life changing, therapeutic," he explains. "The camaraderie and brotherhood is back in my life, and that's pretty much what I needed."

Even thought he didn't know who Gilbert was before the ride started, Patterson felt moved by the "One Hell of an Amen" singer's efforts to help veterans in need.

"There was a Wounded Warrior ride called Project Oddessy," Patterson says. "At the last minute they said they had a VIP guest named Brantley Gilbert, I had no idea who the guy was, I thought it was 'Bradley Gilbert' for the longest time. ... I thought what better way to raise awareness than for this country star to promote his new album and talk about the Wounded Warriors."

After giving Gilbert his Purple Heart — a medal which signifies being wounded or killed while serving in the U.S. military — the country star felt like he needed to do something to say thanks.

"What's up, Justin! I've already told you this a couple of times, but there's no way I'll ever be able to thank you enough for your gift while we were on the ride," Gilbert says in a surprise video message. "It means more to me than you'll ever know. There's no way I'll ever repay you for that, but I'm not gonna make it to the CMT Awards this year and me and my fiancee have two seats that are available. Hopefully you and your wife aren't too busy and ya'll can check it out. We'd love you to be there representing us that night."

The 2015 CMT Music Awards air live Wednesday night (June 10) at 8PM ET, so keep your eyes peeled for a smiling vet with a big beard mingling around your favorite stars.

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