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While many have expressed their dislike of Kyle Busch, there is one story that most have never heard before – and one that may change their opinion of the NASCAR driver’s character.
Recently reported by longstanding NASCAR journalist, Jeff Gluck, this story of hopelessness turned to inspiration will send chills down your spine.
Along with the seemingly endless number of awards, trophies, and items of recognition Kyle Busch has earned over the years, there sits a small box and letter inside the trophy case at Kyle Busch Motorsports. What’s in the box, and the letter – hold a story that very few are aware of.
The box holds a Purple Heart medal and the letter tells the story of why it has been given to Busch, and given by the man who earned it fighting for our country.
During his second tour of Iraq in 2005, Chris Brunelle’s Humvee came under attack from a suicide bomber detonating his car in an attempt to blow up the soldier’s vehicle. The explosion killed one soldier and severely injured another, but left Brunelle lying in the road – an act of divine intervention, Brunelle says.
Battling with post traumatic stress disorder for years that followed, Brunelle says that problems in his life continued to mount and fueled him to turn to drinking. One day, he was at the bar he’d built outside his home and he decided to take his own life – but something happened that stopped him.
“I said, ‘The hell with it,’” Brunelle told Gluck. “I’m gonna finish this. I’m going to drink this beer and then I’m going to end it all. I’m done fighting and arguing. This is fighting a fight you can’t win.”
At that very moment, one of his daughters came outside and said she just came by to tell him that she loved him.
His thought pattern disrupted by this unexpected act of love, Brunelle changed his mind about taking his own life, but when he turned on the television he saw something that would change his life forever.
Brunelle, who has yet to ever meet Kyle Busch, explained that he flipped to a sports channel at the exact moment they were covering Busch’s 2015 hard crash at Daytona. He watched as they talked about how Busch fought through rehab, recovery, walked again, and returned to the race track out of pure determination.
This, Brunelle says, is what truly saved his life and is exactly why he sent his Purple Heart to Busch.
“I’ve seen a lot of people hurt and messed up, so you grow immune to stuff like that,” He continued. “But I saw that story and the Good Lord meant for me to see it that day. It made something click inside. It made me think. And from that day on, it’s been different.”
In the time that has passed since he sent the medal to Busch, Brunelle and Busch’s father-in-law, Steve Sarcinella, have remained in close contact – calling or texting every single day.
“He doesn’t have to do it, but he does it,” Brunelle says of Sarcinella checking in to see how he’s doing. “If it hadn’t been for them two, I’d probably be a statistic right now.”
To this day, they share an incredible friendship and bond that was brought forth by a life-saving moment. Sarcinella has welcomed Brunelle to events and even brought him to the race shop – moved by his story and the miraculous way they were brought into each other’s lives.
“God says if we can help just one person, we’re doing good, aren’t we?” Sarcinella said. “If that’s all I’m put on this Earth for, is to help Chris, then so be it.”
What an amazing act of kindness and inspiring story!
See Kyle Busch talk about this nearly career-ending injury in the video below.