Truck honoring wounded veterans stops in western Mass.

Hampden County

A truck traveling across the nation to honor wounded veterans will be making a stop in western Massachusetts this morning.

Meet retired U.S. Army Sergeant Justin Burdette, a war veteran amputee,who served three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Justin lost both his legs below the knees due to a rocket blast in combat. For wounded veterans like Justin, it can be hard to get around.

The Western Mass Chapter of The Military Order of the Purple Heart hosted a ceremony in West Springfield this morning to welcome a specially adapted Truck known as the Purple Heart Truck that promotes mobility rights for combat wounded veterans.

The Purple Heart Truck gives veterans the ability to drive the vehicle without using their feet. It’s made possible by this lever..push down for the gas, push forward to brake.

Driven exclusively by amputee Veterans, the Purple Heart Run will make its way from coast-to-coast on a 7,800 mile trip. At the conclusion of the trip in Spokane Washington, the keys to the truck will be given to Justin. 

“Having a vehicle like this I can go out and do the things I want to do without relying on someone else,” said Burdette. “It gives you back your freedom, it makes you feel like you’re able to do everything you want to do and everything you used to do.”

The ceremony also recognized Ludlow for being the first community in Western Massachusetts to have special parking spots for purple heart recipients at town owned buildings.

“Not only for the disability, but so people can recognize that a sacrifice was made and the people parking there are the ones who made that sacrifice for us,” said Eric Segundo, VFW Post 326.

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