Photo by Marc Vasconcellos, The Enterprise
Country singer Lee Brice’s "I Drive Your Truck" won Song of the Year during the Nov. 6 Country Music Association Awards; it was inspired by an NPR radio interview given by Paul Monti, the father of a fallen soldier who finds comfort in driving the Dodge 4x4 pickup his son owned.
Monti did the NPR interview around Memorial Day 2011. He spoke about his son, Army Sgt. 1st Class Jared Monti, who was killed while serving in Afghanistan in 2006 while trying to rescue a fellow soldier. Monti said he couldn't part with his son's pickup and found himself driving the truck to feel closer to his son.
The song was written by Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington and Jimmy Yeary; Harrington was the first to hear the interview and jotted down a few notes that were later turned into a complete song. According to the Randolph Herald, it took the songwriters several years to track down Paul Monti to tell him it was his interview that inspired them to write the song.
As you might suspect, Monti was happy that the song won the Song of the Year Award. He still drives Jared’s half-ton Dodge and spends much of his time organizing Operation Flags, a group of volunteers who place flags on the graves of fallen veterans buried in the Massachusetts National Cemetery on both Memorial Day and Veterans Day.