Capt. Derek Herrera was paralyzed after he was struck by enemy sniper fire while serving in Afghanistan. However, Herrera, who will retire this week, did not let his inability to use his legs keep him from taking the steps across across the parade ground at Camp Pendleton Friday to receive the Bronze Star for bravery.
With his wife, Maura, and his service dog, Shaggy, nearby, Herrera walked with the aid of a nearly $70,000 robotic system, which he was the first person in the country to purchase.
Following his retirement, Herrera plans to help other veterans.
“Your drive and determination are great and you will continue to do great things,” Lt. Col. John Lynch told Herrera.
However, Herrera humbly stated, “Today is not about me.”