GRIMES COUNTY- Independence Day has a new meaning to Sergeant Monte Bernardo. At 31 he has learned to live life in a different way.
"I spent 30 years of my life walking on two legs and it's my plan to spend as much of my life walking on two legs," said Sgt. Bernardo.
The wounded warrior's life changed drastically July 4, 2012 when he encountered an enemy IED in Afghanistan.
"I stepped in one and it blew off both of my legs and my hand," he said. Bernardo is still in physical therapy at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Last year, his life was forever altered once again, when at the A&M-Sam Houston State football game, he was awarded a new home. "It was very shocking," he said. "I wanted to melt into the ground."
Now, with the help of Operation Finally Home and King Oaks Subdivision in Grimes County, he will have a forever home.
"That's my house, it just gets more real and more shocking every time I see something," Bernardo said.
Randall Pitcock's contracting company is helping to build it, and says he'd do it again for heroes like Bernardo.
"I think for a lot of people, he represents what we would like to do for many," Pitcock said.
Written on nearly every doorframe of the house are notes of love to Bernardo and his family reminding him that they are never alone and the community is forever grateful for his service.
Bernardo's brother Frank is an Aggie. "I am so happy that he is going to live in Aggieland,"
It's a place Frank said his brother loves now, but didn't truly understand until he was awarded his future home.
"It was just really a blessing that it all matched up and worked out," he said.
The Sergeant said he considers his injuries just a speed bump in his plan for life, and he has no regrets.
"I would do it all over again just because the community has come together and shown how much they care. It's amazing," said Sgt. Bernardo.
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