PHILADELPHIA -- "While traveling across the country, to probably 35, almost 40 states with the car, one thing definitely rings true," said Carmen Brancato. "This country is definitely patriotic. And it's so good to see."
Brancato, who is from Northeast Philadelphia, comes from a big military family.
"Both grandfathers are Marines, my dad, a Marine, my son, in the Army, and my sister is an Army nurse. I spent some time in the Marines as well," he said. "It was always in our DNA to give back in that way."
When he got his hands on his dream car, a 1969 Camaro, Brancato shifted gears towards helping veterans' charities.
"I put a military graphic on it about 14 years ago and I started driving all over the country," he said. "And on the back, it's a dedication on the veterans that served past and present, as well as the three different charities that I represent."
Brancato has driven from Philadelphia to California, Texas, Florida, and many more. He parks his military-themed car outside large events like concerts and fundraisers to spread the word about organizations like Disabled American Veterans, the Fisher House Foudnation, and the
Wounded Warrior Project.
He attended a celebration of the United States Marine Corps' 247th birthday in South Philadelphia. Tankie's Tavern, formerly known as Cookie's Tavern, has hosted the event for decades.
"It's a tradition that's been going on for at least 40 years. We kept the tradition going," said property owner Salvatore DiNubile. "Marines from all over the country could come and they know that they're going to, you know, bump into people that they served with."
Two such Marines are twins Roman and Ryan Lewis from North Philadelphia, who each served 13 and a half years.
"Marine Corps changed my life," said Roman Lewis. "I'm pretty sure it changed everybody's life who's ever earned that title, United States Marine."
In the future, Brancato hopes to keep driving his car and raising awareness. But he also encourages everyone else to find a way to support veterans where they are.
"Just do your part to help out veterans in any way you can," he said. "Whether it's donating or whether it's your time, because time doesn't cost anything."
To learn more about the Warrior Camaro project, visit its website .