Purple Heart Truck stops in Bakersfield on coast-to-coast run


A specially equipped truck aimed to raise awareness of the need for mobility among wounded veterans is making its way across the country.

The Purple Heart Truck hit the road on June 18 departing from Springfield, Virginia. Thursday, it made its scheduled stop in Bakersfield. However, the truck doesn’t stop here, the truck’s run still has a few more cities to hit before it completes its 7,800 mile trip.

The truck has been driven across the country by combat-wounded veterans.

Here in town, the truck arrived with a motorcycle escort to the Bakersfield Veterans Services Center.

“I can’t tell you what a privilege it is to meet the people that I’ve met, it’s outstanding,” said Don Towers, the Purple Heart Truck’s current driver.   

Don Towers is a one-legged amputee. He picked up the truck from the previous driver in Boise, Idaho.

Multiple drivers have shared the ride, each driving two weeks at a time.

Towers is the last driver in the truck run. He will drive the truck up to its last stop in Spokane, Washington for the Military Order of the Purple Heart Convention at the end of the month.

The truck will be presented to Justin Burdette, a wounded veteran who lost both his legs in Iraq.

But, this is no ordinary truck. the Ford F-150 is fully adapted to allow paralyzed or double amputee veterans to operate it and it’s also purple.

According to MOPH and Wounded Warriors Family, who are jointly sponsoring the event, the truck is also a way for recipients to thank the community for their appreciation and support.

“It reflects that somebody cares about what we did in the Vietnam War,” said Tyrone Littlejohn, Commander of the Bakersfield Chapter.

The event welcomes donations to help cover the drivers lodging, meals and the cost of the truck.

“I would hope that all the Bakersfield people that hear about this would come and look at it and sign your name and give them a buck and it’s a worth cause and it just means you care about them,” said Marc Sandall, Purple Heart supporter.

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