WEST CHESTER, Pa. - It's an honor that's been a longtime coming for a veteran in Chester County.
Justin Radbill s a former Army Ranger who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. During a ceremony in West Chester on Wednesday, he received the Purple Heart from U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello.
"So it's important for the community, for congressionals, for locals, for organizations to come together and see a living, breathing hero," said Lawrence Davidson, the director of veterans affairs for Chester County.
Radbill survived an attack in Iraq that took the lives of his fellow soldiers. Remnants of that fateful day have stayed with him for more than a decade.
"Next week, I'm having some surgery to take out more shrapnel, and I'm trying to heal back up and keep moving forward," Radbill told 69 News.
Radbill said the ceremony is an important step in his journey.
"This is way above and beyond what I was expecting when they told me I was gonna be getting the medal," he said. "It's really nice to bring some closure to my life and helps me move forward a bit."
Following another eventful year, it's important for us to step back and reflect on those special people among us.
"This has been a really unique year in the history of our country, but what brings us back together is celebrating the courage of a local resident defending his country," Costello said.
Justin Radbill is a lot of things, but most importantly, he is a living, breathing hero.
"He was willing to give his last full measure, and they took almost all of it," Davidson said.
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