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Gold Star father from Mass. who inspired ‘I Drive Your Truck’ dies at 76

A Massachusetts man and father of a fallen U.S. soldier whose story inspired an award-winning and chart-topping country music song is dead.Paul Monti, of Raynham, died Friday at the age of 76 while surrounded by many of his family members and close friends, according to Massachusetts Fallen Heroes — an organization that aims to honor fallen soldiers, support Gold Star families and empower veterans.On a page for the newly-created Paul Monti Family Fund, Massachusetts Fallen Heroes stated that Monti had been diagnosed with stage 3 mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer.”Paul has touched the lives of so many with his endless generosity, love, and spirit. He relentlessly and successfully pursued a life of helping others, being a role model, and leading by example. He will forever be missed,” the organization wrote in a Facebook post.Monti was the father of U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Jared Monti, who was killed in action on June 21, 2006, while serving with the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan.Sgt. Jared Monti, 30, died after running into enemy fire multiple times while trying to rescue a wounded soldier.”He went out the third time and that’s when he was hit with the (rocket-propelled grenade) and killed,” Paul Monti told NewsCenter 5 in August 2021. “My son was an incredible humanitarian. He gave and he gave and he gave. In the end, he gave his life.” Sgt. Jared Monti was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama in September 2009. Paul Monti accepted the medal, the American military’s highest decoration for valor, on his son’s behalf.While visiting his son’s grave on the first Veterans Day after he died, Paul Monti noticed that there weren’t any American flags placed on his son’s grave nor on any of the graves at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne.Monti was told that flags on the grave sites would interfere with grounds keeping, which inspired him to get the policy changed and start Operation Flags for Vets — an organization that places tens of thousands of flags on the graves at the Massachusetts National Cemetery every Memorial Day and Veterans Day.During the first Operation Flags for Vets event on Memorial Day 2011, Monti revealed in an interview with NPR that he still drove his son’s pickup truck as a way of remembering him. Nashville songwriter Connie Harrington heard the interview on the program “Here and Now” and was inspired to write the song “I Drive Your Truck.” The song, co-written by Jessi Alexander and Jimmy Yeary, was recorded by country artist Lee Brice in 2012.”I Drive Your Truck” rose to No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart in April 2013 and won the 2013 Country Music Association’s (CMA) award for Song of the Year, as well as the 2014 Academy of Country Music’s (ACM) award for Song of the Year.”Mr. Paul drove Jared’s truck to remember his son and to feel that much closer to him. With the windows down, Gatorade on the floor board, dog tags in the rearview, he drove it proudly and unbeknownst to him, created a song that so many could relate to by sharing his story,” Lee Brice wrote on Facebook. “Songwriters Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington, and Jimmy Yeary heard that story and brought ‘I Drive Your Truck’ to life, which to this day has touched so many lives. I have been blessed to sing it since 2012 and look forward to representing your family along with all of our military service men and women that have given the ultimate sacrifice. God speed.”Paul Monti was also a science teacher at Stoughton High School from 1970 to his retirement in June 2005.Massachusetts Fallen Heroes shared that memorial services for Monti have yet to be finalized. The organization has set up a fundraising page for his family to help cover the costs they have faced over the last several months. Massachusetts Fallen Heroes said 100% of all funds raised will be transferred to the Monti family directly through the SFC Jared C. Monti Trust.Click here to donate to the Paul Monti Family Fund.

A Massachusetts man and father of a fallen U.S. soldier whose story inspired an award-winning and chart-topping country music song is dead.

Paul Monti, of Raynham, died Friday at the age of 76 while surrounded by many of his family members and close friends, according to Massachusetts Fallen Heroes — an organization that aims to honor fallen soldiers, support Gold Star families and empower veterans.

On a page for the newly-created Paul Monti Family Fund, Massachusetts Fallen Heroes stated that Monti had been diagnosed with stage 3 mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer.

“Paul has touched the lives of so many with his endless generosity, love, and spirit. He relentlessly and successfully pursued a life of helping others, being a role model, and leading by example. He will forever be missed,” the organization wrote in a Facebook post.

Monti was the father of U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Jared Monti, who was killed in action on June 21, 2006, while serving with the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan.

Sgt. Jared Monti, 30, died after running into enemy fire multiple times while trying to rescue a wounded soldier.

U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Jared Monti, of Raynham, Massachusetts, was killed in action on June 21, 2006 while serving with the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan.

Paul Monti

U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Jared Monti, of Raynham, Massachusetts, was killed in action on June 21, 2006 while serving with the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan.

“He went out the third time and that’s when he was hit with the (rocket-propelled grenade) and killed,” Paul Monti told NewsCenter 5 in August 2021. “My son was an incredible humanitarian. He gave and he gave and he gave. In the end, he gave his life.”

Sgt. Jared Monti was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama in September 2009. Paul Monti accepted the medal, the American military’s highest decoration for valor, on his son’s behalf.

President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Honor to Paul Monti, father of Army Sgt. 1st. Class Jared C. Monti from Raynham, Mass., Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009, during a ceremony the East Room of the White House in Washington.

AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Honor to Paul Monti, father of Army Sgt. 1st. Class Jared C. Monti from Raynham, Mass., Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009, during a ceremony the East Room of the White House in Washington.

While visiting his son’s grave on the first Veterans Day after he died, Paul Monti noticed that there weren’t any American flags placed on his son’s grave nor on any of the graves at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne.

Monti was told that flags on the grave sites would interfere with grounds keeping, which inspired him to get the policy changed and start Operation Flags for Vets — an organization that places tens of thousands of flags on the graves at the Massachusetts National Cemetery every Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

During the first Operation Flags for Vets event on Memorial Day 2011, Monti revealed in an interview with NPR that he still drove his son’s pickup truck as a way of remembering him. Nashville songwriter Connie Harrington heard the interview on the program “Here and Now” and was inspired to write the song “I Drive Your Truck.” The song, co-written by Jessi Alexander and Jimmy Yeary, was recorded by country artist Lee Brice in 2012.

“I Drive Your Truck” rose to No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart in April 2013 and won the 2013 Country Music Association’s (CMA) award for Song of the Year, as well as the 2014 Academy of Country Music’s (ACM) award for Song of the Year.

“Mr. Paul drove Jared’s truck to remember his son and to feel that much closer to him. With the windows down, Gatorade on the floor board, dog tags in the rearview, he drove it proudly and unbeknownst to him, created a song that so many could relate to by sharing his story,” Lee Brice wrote on Facebook. “Songwriters Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington, and Jimmy Yeary heard that story and brought ‘I Drive Your Truck’ to life, which to this day has touched so many lives. I have been blessed to sing it since 2012 and look forward to representing your family along with all of our military service men and women that have given the ultimate sacrifice. God speed.”

Paul Monti, of Raynham, Massachusetts, stands near the truck that belonged to his late son, U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Jared Monti, who was killed in action in Afghanistan on June 21, 2006. Monti continued to drive his son's truck after his death, a story that inspired the hit country song "I Drive Your Truck."

Hearst Owned

Paul Monti, of Raynham, Massachusetts, stands near the truck that belonged to his late son, U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Jared Monti, who was killed in action in Afghanistan on June 21, 2006. Monti continued to drive his son’s truck after his death, a story that inspired the hit country song “I Drive Your Truck.”

Paul Monti was also a science teacher at Stoughton High School from 1970 to his retirement in June 2005.

Massachusetts Fallen Heroes shared that memorial services for Monti have yet to be finalized. The organization has set up a fundraising page for his family to help cover the costs they have faced over the last several months. Massachusetts Fallen Heroes said 100% of all funds raised will be transferred to the Monti family directly through the SFC Jared C. Monti Trust.

Click here to donate to the Paul Monti Family Fund.

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