Country music star Brantley Gilbert matches veterans with comfort dogs

Eric Dehm
April 27, 2018 - 10:47 am

Photo courtesy Brantley Gilbert

Brantley Gilbert is one of the biggest names in country music, and one of the busiest men in the country. He's currently on the road with his "The Ones That Like Me" tour. 

When that's done, he's going on another tour with Kid Rock and Wheeler Walker Jr. And when that's done, he's going straight to work on recording a new album.

It's safe to say Gilbert has a lot on his plate. In fact, he's got so much to deal with you might figure he doesn't have time for anything else.

You'd be wrong.

Gilbert has partnered with Pedigree dog food, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), the Humane Society, and others to present comfort dogs to vets during the tour. As far as why he felt the need to add this special wrinkle to his already hectic schedule, he says he's always got time for his fans, particularly those who have worn the uniform.

What's more, when it comes to veterans struggling with issues like depression when they return home, he wouldn't feel right if he didn't use his fame to help bring some much needed attention. 

Photo courtesy Brantley Gilbert

"I look at it this way," Gilbert said during an appearance on the Morning Briefing radio show. "I've been blesssed with a whole lot more spotlight and a whole lot more platform than I ever asked for and I'll ever need and veterans have always been close to my heart. My mom's side of the family was a military family."

His willingness to use that platform is something that his partners in this effort appreciate immensely. 

“This partnership illustrates how DAV transforms the lives of veterans and their families,” said DAV National Commander Delphine Metcalf-Foster. “I’m very thankful Brantley partnered with us and used his platform to amplify our mission of service.”

If having family members who served was his introduction to veteran issues, Gilbert's master class was still to come. The true magnitude of the struggles some vets face became clear when his friends from high school started returning from deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. One in particular had an extremely difficult time, and was the catalyst for the musician's continuing efforts to help the veteran community.

"When my buddy Josh came home there was definitely some things going on with him," Gilbert recalled. "And that's the first time it really hit that close to home because I'd known him all my life. Seeing him go through that was extremely difficult."

Since then, Gilbert has made a concerted effort to find ways to do his part. So far, that's included everything from a USO tour to Italy and Kuwait to taking part in Wounded Warrior motorcycle rides. He says every interaction he has interaction with veterans it's a highlight of his day, and his current effort to provide those 8 comfort dogs is no exception. 

Photo courtesy Brantley Gilbert
 

"It's been amazing man," Gilbert said.  "The way they come out of the kennel the first thing they do, every single dog we've given away, is they go to their family. They're attached at the hip before they leave the venue that night. It's just been an honor to be a part of it."

You can hear the full interview with Brantley Gilbert below by clicking the Play button to stream now or click Share and select Download from the available options to listen later.