Silver Star hero receives key to new, mortgage free home

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A big present for one of South Carolina's bravest.

First Sergeant Peter Lara was awarded the Silver Star for his actions in Iraq.

In 2005, Lara was shot three times while clearing a house.

Recovery has not been easy, but on Monday some Midlands companies took a big weight off his shoulders.

"It went through my weapon, into my jaw and just got stuck up in my head that was the first bullet I took," said Lara.

First Sergeant Peter Lara would take two more bullets that night.

It was Iraq, when he and his men hit a house filled with insurgents.

He and eleven others were shot and another was killed.

"My biggest burden was always losing that young soldier," said Lara. "He still had a life, he was only 19-years-old, and you always wish you could've taken care of him better. Those are always the demons that follow you."

Lara would later receive the Silver Star for pulling men to safety and putting others before himself.

"Ever since then I've just been having surgery after surgery, checking on my soldiers, cause I still had eleven of them that got shot up that night," Lara added.

More than 40 surgeries later and now retired, Lara is taking another step.

"This year we have given away 107 homes to these wounded heroes," said General Leroy Sisco of the Military Warriors Support Foundation. "It's amazing."

Through the Military Warriors Support Foundation PGBA and InStil Health Insurance gave Lara a key to his new and mortgage free home.

"Every day you pinch yourself, you know it's hard to believe the feeling of having a home for free, and not having that financial burden, it's a feeling I thought I wouldn't have for 30 years," said Lara.

"Without them we wouldn't even be meeting in this building right now, you couldn't have come to work this morning without concern for an IED, but that's not the way it is in America because of heroes like Lara," Sisco added.

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