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Lee Brice celebrated the success of his No. 1 single “I Drive Your Truck” Monday (May 13) at the CMA building in Nashville, with the usual array of plaques and praise that mark No. 1 parties. But this celebration also featured a special guest who provided several emotional, touching moments at the proceedings.
The song was written by Connie Harrington, Jessi Alexander and Jimmy Yeary, and was inspired by an episode of the NPR program Here and Now that Connie heard while driving on Memorial Day weekend of 2011 . The program centered around a man who had lost a son, who had been serving in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan .
When asked how he coped with the loss, the man answered that he drove his son's truck around their property to remember him. Connie believed that the story should be put into a song.
Number one party with the best writers in the world!Holler! twitter.com/leebrice/statu… — Lee Brice (@leebrice) May 13, 2013 
After the song was released, the writers were able to track down the father, Paul Monti of Massachusetts, through NPR and other sources. Paul was invited to the celebration and was on hand to help honor his son Jared. He shared the stage with Lee, the three writers and industry executives.
Paul received a special commemorative plaque featuring his son's photo and also addressed the packed crowd of media, industry members and other guests. As he described his son's death and the effect that it has had on the family, many in the audience were moved to tears.
Before the party got underway, Lee told members of the Nashville media that “I Drive Your Truck” has wielded a powerful impact nationwide.
“We have gotten all kinds of stories from people,” Lee said. “There are so many people who made a connection with the song.” When he performs the song in concert, he can feel the emotional tide change, if only for a few minutes.
“Every night, their hats are off and the party stops for a moment,” Lee recalled. “It’s been an amazing ride to be part of something like this.”
To learn more about Sgt. Jared Monti and the scholarship fund that was created in his name, go to the SFC Jared C. Monti Memorial Scholarship Fund website .