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article imageVeteran talks Hot Rod Warriors, Brantley Gilbert, Purple Heart Special

By Markos Papadatos     Jun 22, 2019 in Lifestyle
Staff sergeant and Purple Heart recipient Justin Patterson chatted with Digital Journal about Hot Rod Warriors and meeting and forming a friendship with country mega-star Brantley Gilbert.
"Hot Rod Warriors is a program my friends Clint Romero and Stacy Fite and I started for combat veterans," Patterson said. " We were looking for a program that didn't exist. We figured if we don't do it, nobody else will. Clint and Stacy are the owners of one of the most prestigious Speed shops in Colorado. They are No. 1 pro charger installers in Colorado, No. 2 or No. 3 in the nation.
Patterson continued, "Hot Rod Warriors is a very unique veteran non-profit. We are giving warriors a battle space to come together and reunite that camaraderie and provide a new mission, a mission that includes a lot of adventure adrenaline and speed."
"Veterans are already synced to fast paced exciting environment, we provide a clean sober safe environment to rebuild veterans and vehicles one engine or 'veteran' at a time," he added.
When asked what motivates him every day, Patterson said, 'I would have to say God, family and my need to serve."
On being recognized with a Purple Heart, he said, "It is a double-edged sword, meaning, on one hand, it’s like an enemy marksman badge, on the other, it’s a proud award. Proud that you shed your flesh and blood for your country and your brothers, we die so that others may live free."
Country star Brantley Gilbert
Country star Brantley Gilbert
Lyn Sengupta, Big Hassle Media
He also shared his moving story on how he met country superstar Brantley Gilbert and presented him with his Purple Heart. "Meeting 'Bradley' and yes I said 'Bradley' because the week we did a ride I didn't know who this guy was. Having a TBI you are very forgetful... so I kept calling him Bradley... so it’s kinda becoming an inside joke," he shared.
Patterson continued, "Brantley was one of the first powerful men to say that he loved God and that he had rededicated his life to God. I say 'powerful' because when you have the ability to influence 10 to 70 million people on a platform where it's positive or negative. Anyway, he showed me that if you give your life to God all things are possible."
On his plans for the future, Patterson said, "I plan to live every day that I am given to do God's will and help change the hearts of men through whatever platform I am blessed with."
"I plan to grow our nonprofit so that people across the country may see what veterans are capable of when we rally together for the good of one another," he said.
For veterans dealing with PTSD or stains of war, he said, "Never give up. Keep fighting. I've been down in that Fox hole where it seems as though you can't get any lower. Jail, drugs, alcohol and self-medicating."
"It gets better if you keep fighting surrounding yourself with fellow veterans who have the same story can provide the best support. I say to you: you've tried drugs, you've tried alcohol. Try God. Brantley has, I have."
To learn more about Hot Rod Warriors, check out their official website, and catch their reality show on the Fast TV Network.
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