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Veteran who helps other vets receives big surprise at Sears

A former soldier who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq received a big surprise at Sears on Veterans Day.
November 11, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A former soldier who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq had an extra special Veterans Day. He and his family received a big surprise on Monday.

Retired Sgt. 1st Class Richard Rodriguez Jr. had no idea what his trip to Sears had in store. Nominated for the Sears Heroes at Home Gift Registry program, Rodriguez, his wife and their four kids got a table full of gifts and a $1,000 gift card to recognize his military service and continuing work with veterans.

"I just do it because I want to. So if people tell me thank you or they don't, I don't care, I just want to do it, so I guess I'm kind of shocked right now," said Rodriguez.

The Army veteran and Bronze Star recipient retired from the Army in 2012 and now suffers from PTSD. He serves fellow veterans with job placement services and assistance, organizes events, and even participates in a program with his father to give veterans service dogs.

"We had two sons that went to combat and came home, so we're very fortunate. We're very blessed in many ways, so today is just frosting on the cake," said Rick Rodriguez Sr.

Retired Marine 1st Sgt. Dennis Radcliffe nominated Rodriguez for his tireless service.

"Every time I talk to him, he's doing something else for a veteran other than himself, and not that he's neglecting his family, but he always puts someone else first," said Radcliffe.

Rodriguez's 8-year-old son, Eli, understands that sacrifice first hand.

"I'm really happy that he's still alive to today, and I'm proud that he came home because I was really surprised," the boy said.

"I have a beautiful wife and I have great children, and they stuck by me through all this stuff, so I'm really blessed. So if I can help somebody else then that's all it means to me," said Rodriguez.

The Heroes at Home Program has donated more than $18 million in goods and services to veterans in the last six years. If you'd like to help out, you can visit any Sears store or go online.


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