July 14, 2020
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Mobility is freedom…with a Purple Heart truck run

  • The customized Ford Truck for U.S. Army Sergeant (Ret.) Justin Burdette, who lost both of his legs, was on display at Hansel Ford in Santa Rosa for the public to sign. Robert Grant

By: Irene Hilsendager
August 3, 2018

Last week upon seeing a purple tricked-out truck at Hansel Ford, Santa Rosa, it would have warmed any cold heart. It brought tears to the veterans standing around the amazing pick-up and the conversations were swinging back and forth about the vehicle and where the vets had served. It was a proud moment to shake hands with each and every one wearing the purple heart hat which represents the Chapter 1782 of The Military Order of the Purple Heart. 

The purple Ford F-150 is adapted to accommodate combat-wounded veterans who are paralyzed or have lost legs and/or arms. The belief is given the right vehicle for mobility, a combat-wounded veteran will have the freedom to live a productive and quality of life with their family. 

Driven by amputee veterans, the Purple Heart Run made its way coast-to-coast and made a stop in Santa Rosa on its way to the state of Washington. Demonstrations of the truck were shown and some of the drivers were introduced. The purple vehicle was signed by anyone wishing to do so and the truck was covered with signatures from all across America. 

The truck run is sponsored jointly by the Military Order of the Purple Heart and Wounded Warriors Family Support which made its way from coast to coast and rallying communities across America to thank our Nation’s military veterans and to support this great mission. During the trek across the country the truck provided by Ford Motor Company, was powered by Pilot and Flying J fuel, all made possible by generous sponsors.

The recipient of the custom decked-out truck this year is U.S. Army Sergeant (Ret.) Justin Burdette, a double amputee combat veteran who will be on hand in Washington state for the ceremony. Burdette is a Purple heart recipient, who was chosen from a nation-wide search for eligible and deserving nominees.

In June of 2013, Burdette was three months into his third deployment to Afghanistan when his platoon received incoming mortar and rocket fire while on a dismounted patrol in Wardak province. Justin was hit with a 107 mm rocket and the blast caused him to lose both legs below the knees. Yes, this deserving gentleman will receive the title to the vehicle and paid-up insurance but what a price he had to pay. Sonoma County, California and all of America bless these vets for what they do to keep us free.