• 2015

Purple Heart. True Blue.

Gabriel Martinez’s 2012 Dodge Challenger R/T

Gabriel Martinez, Parker, Colorado

I’m a former sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. A few years ago, my life was changed forever. While on deployment in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan on Thanksgiving Day 2010, I stepped on a 20 lb. improvised explosive device (IED), and it detonated. There I was, one leg lying upon my chest, the other just a few feet away from me (no pun intended).


The blast was my membership into a club of few: wounded warriors/Purple Heart recipients. I lost both of my legs in the blast; one leg was amputated above the knee and the other was amputated below the knee. Since that day, my life and my perspective on life changed — only for the good.

Ever since, I’ve become stronger (physically and mentally), more determined than ever, more stubborn than ever and more persistent in all that I do. I’ve participated in more activities, sports, challenges and once-in-a-lifetime adventures since becoming an amputee than ever before. I’ve told myself that this life is worth living and that any opportunity that comes my way, if I feel it inside, I will give myself the opportunity to pursue it with all I have.

One of the greatest forms of “therapy” I’ve discovered is working on and cruising in Mopar® rides. I own a 2013 Ram 2500 Laramie® and it’s been transformed into one bad truck since I’ve put the time into it to make it the truck of my dreams.

Now I have another vehicle that I’m working on: a 2012 Dodge Challenger R/T Classic. I’ve been brainstorming non-stop since I got the car, on how I can make it perform better than any other car out there! I plan to do everything I can with the tools I have. When I get something I think is a little more than I can handle, I take it to a shop.

Mopar® muscle has certainly helped fuel my passion. I guess I would like people who read my story to be inspired, to seek out opportunities, to live life to the fullest, no matter what blasts (or bumps) in the road they face.

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