Fourth of July celebrations are happening a little early at the annual Rockets Over Rhema celebration. In addition to the fireworks show, a wounded veteran was honored in a special way.
Iraq war veteran U.S. Army Sgt. Jesse O'Bryant was presented the keys to a brand new home. For 12 years, including two tours in Iraq, O'Bryant has served his country. He's back on American soil, disabled and living with PTSD.
“It's a good day because of what's happening and everything, but it's really difficult because of the crowd and the noise and stuff like that," O'Bryant said.
He's braving this crowd at the Rockets over Rhema early Independence Day celebration to accept a special gift thanks to the Military Warriors Support Foundation and Wells Fargo. The keys to a mortgage-free home.
“It still really hasn't hit me,” he said. “Stuff like that doesn't happen to me, and it's gonna happen."
Car shows, music and fun is great, but it's American soldiers like O'Bryant who make it possible to be free to hold celebrations like this.
“We know that we are free because of the sacrifices of so many people so many or our military that sacrificed so much their lives just to protect this nation to make it great,” he said.
Assistant Pastor Roger Sharp says the church is honored to have its celebration be the backdrop for such a great moment.
“We are just so excited,” Sharp said. “We owe so much to our veterans, especially those wounded and disabled. Just helping them, giving them something to get their feet on the ground and get started is wonderful."
O'Bryant says some days are good, others are a bit more tough. Despite having PTSD, with his sister and so much support standing by, he's able to muster up the courage to stand as a homeowning American hero.
O'Bryant says having this home is going to give him the space he needs to get better.
In the meantime, the celebration continues tonight and fireworks are scheduled to begin at 10.