Last week, in a ceremony at the National Museum of the United State Air force in Dayton Ohio, Senior Airmen Tre Porfirio received the Purple Heart. On Nov. 21 2009 Tre was shot 3 times by Afghan insurgents. Those three bullets have resulted in more than 20 surgeries. Tre's recovery has involved some ground breaking medical techniques. At last night's ceremony Airmen Porfirio talked about his personal fight for life.
Porfirio says, "It's been a battle, lot a help from Community, squadron, my Girl and baby... it makes it easier."
What makes military service easier for Tre and others like him is the support from family members and that's what last night's event was about. Since 2005 Base leaders at Wright-Patt and community Partners have been welcoming Airmen home from deployment and showing their appreciation for not only the Airmen but for their families who also serve through sacrifice.
Jennifer Spurgin is program coordinator for Heroes Welcoming Heroes, and says the program's name was coined five years ago when we were looking at the heroes that stayed behind, the families that kept the home fires burning. Their significant others, our warriors were putting their lives on the line to support us. So we wanted to make sure we had something in the way of a celebration, a big event to welcome them home."
Spurgin says that for families with men and women serving in the military, a support system is crucial. To offer that support the base offers a program called IDS - Integrated Delivery Systems. The program has a more heartfelt mission than it's name implies. Whether it's help mowing the lawn, car maintenance, childcare or other social services, IDS provides help to military families.
Almost 200 Airmen and Women and their families took part in last night event. Lt. Col.Wendy Larson is Deputy Commander with Mission Support Group at Wright-Patt. She's served in the military for 22 years now and says support for military families isn't just talk.
Larson says, "...the Air force is truly a family and when times are tough they circle around you, and they're there. Being in the mission support group, I know first hand all the programs that are available for the spouses and the families that are left behind and the effort and the care that's given to make sure the families know that, it just warms my heart because when you hear it and see it transpire like this it's wonderful."
and Larson says Tre Porfiero is a symbol for all men and women who make sacrifices to serve in the military. "Certainly his was very extreme and were very proud of him, but there are so many sacrifices, even at the smaller level, I think that as Americans it's good that we take time to pay them tribute."
As for Tre Porfiero - despite his injuries and subsequent surgeries, he looks forward to continuing his service. "I plan on staying in the service hopefully. I love it. Things happen and it happened and it's over and I'm still here. That's all that matters.