2 LI soldiers celebrate special bond on July 4th

For two soldiers from Long Island, July 4th marks the anniversary of a life-changing event and lifelong bond that occurred in the war-torn streets of Baghdad.

On July 4th, 2005, Army Sgt. Sam Cila, of Riverhead, was hit by shrapnel in Baghdad. The metal ricocheted through his arm, tore off both his bicep and tricep, severed his brachial artery and cut the nerves in his arm.

Army Medic Rene Rivera, of Mastic Beach, was soon on the scene. He immediately put a tourniquet on Cila, thereby stopping the bleeding and saving the sergeant's life.

Rivera was there to morally support Cila when he underwent surgeries and rehabilitation for his shattered body. Now, they are friends that celebrate life and friendship on the Fourth of July.

Rivera and Cila are involved in Suffolk County Homefront, a nonprofit organization that raises money to help local troops on duty and at home.

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