STONY BROOK - A Long Island veteran wounded in the Iraq War received a special honor Monday for helping veterans on the home front.
First Lt. John Fernandez, of Shoreham, received the Outstanding Service Award from Canine Companions for Independence. The honor recognizes Fernandez's dedication to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Fernandez lost his left foot and right leg below the knee in a bomb blast while serving in Iraq in 2003.
Since then, Fernandez has mentored injured soldiers and encouraged them to face their new challenges head on.
He testified before Congress to help pass legislation for veteran disability insurance, which has paid out over $400 million to veterans in need.
Fernandez credits his family with helping him overcome his struggles.
“You just have to hang in there no matter what your struggles are or what your demons are,” said Fernandez. “If you need help, don't be afraid to reach out because we've all been there.”