A veteran received a hero's welcome in Waxhaw, North Carolina, after undergoing more than 100 surgeries for injuries sustained in Afghanistan.
More than 100 friends and strangers braved a wet winter day to show support and appreciation for Mike Verardo.
Verardo, an Army veteran, barely escaped death a few times while serving overseas.
His wife set up the surprise homecoming.
“This was just so incredible,” said Sarah Verardo, Mike Verardo's wife. “I mean, to see people rally around my family like this is above and beyond anything we could hope for.”
Eight years ago, Mike Verardo lost his leg and much of his left arm while on active duty.
Since then, he's had 119 surgeries.
“For our nation’s wounded, we know the fight is lifelong, so we’re just going to enjoy every healthy day that we can,” Sarah Verardo said.
Sarah Verardo has dedicated her life to serving her husband and other veterans.
“It was the honor of my husband’s lifetime to serve this country, and it's the honor of my lifetime to take care of him,” she said.
Sarah Verardo works to bridge the gap of unmet needs for veterans in the country through the Independence Fund.
“We’ve distributed more than $60 million in direct support to our nation’s most catastrophic ill and injured,” Sarah Verardo said. “So, it’s personal to me, of course, because we live it every day.”
Sarah Verardo said she wants every veteran to know they’re valued.
“There’s such honor in military service, and what happens afterward is so important, too,” she said.
Mike Verardo is scheduled for two more surgeries in 2019.
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