GRIMES COUNTY - After months of waiting, Sergeant Monte Bernardo and his family can finally go home.
The 31-year-old's life changed drastically July 4, 2012 when he encountered an enemy IED in Afghanistan. Bernardo lost both legs and part of his left arm in the blast.
The non-profit organization Operation Finally Home is thanking him for his service by giving him a brand new house.
"He's definitely a hero and there's no way we can do enough to repay him for the sacrifice that he's made," said Lee Kirgan with Operation Finally Home.
Saturday morning, hundreds greeted the wounded warrior and his family at a subdivision in Iola, where Bernardo saw his brand new home for the first time.
"I can never thank everybody enough for this," Bernardo said.
The humble Sergeant said he and his family were overwhelmed by the community's outpouring of support.
"They're amazing," he said. "A great group of people; that's what America should be, all of it."
Through the donations of more than 100 sponsors and hundreds of volunteers, the house was completed in 10 months. Pitcock and Croix Custom Homes in College Station is one of the sponsors who helped build the house for free. The three bedroom, two bath house was built for Bernardo's special needs.
"Monte held us back saying he didn't want his counter tops lower for the rest of his family," said company co-owner Randall Pitcock. "He is an amazing man in how he's adapted to his situation."
The Sergeant has made great strides in his recovery.
"Now that we're home, it will be a lot easier to continue my own therapy," Bernardo said.
The Sergeant added he is excited for what's next in life. He hopes to one day attend Texas A&M University and of course, go to as many Fightin' Texas Aggie football games as he can.
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