War veteran honored with gift of home

February 27, 2012 4:12:52 PM PST
An Afghanistan war veteran who lost her leg during an insurgent attack nearly two years ago is back on her feet and helping other wounded veterans. On Monday, she was the focus of attention as she was honored and awarded for her sacrifice, with a house warming party like no other.

Sgt. Kendra Coleman saw her new home for the first time, with our cameras rolling. She arrived at her new home amid much pomp and circumstance.

On May 11, 2010, an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan took Sgt. Coleman's leg. Former presidential candidate Ross Perot, Sr. depicts the next moments.

He read, "'I knew I was hit,' she said. 'I reached down to my left leg pocket to grab my tourniquet, my pocket wasn't there, just the remaining pieces of what had been my left leg.'"

Her fellow battle buddies were able to save her. And her little brother then called himself up to duty, dropping everything he was doing to help her rehab.

Sgt. Coleman tearfully said, "He gave up college, he gave up his youth, he gave up having fun. He was only 19 when I was blown up. He spent the last two years taking care of me. So thank you."

"Any brother should do for his sister, I guess," said her brother, Troy Pieper. "She needs me more than I need everything else in the world, so..."

Now a recipient of HelpingAHero.org, Sgt. Coleman walked though the door of her new home with Perot and her husband by her side. Hopefully the master closet is a big one.

"I'm a woman. I have to wear stilettos and skinny jeans," she said.

The sergeant was given a special prosthetic allowing her to wear high heels.

"When I got hurt, I thought my life was over, I would never be attractive again and I would never be strong again or confident," Sgt. Coleman recalled. "Mr. Perot brought that all back. I can wear four and a half inch heels now."

This new Cinco Ranch home and its owner will serve as a monument of heroism and defense of our country.

"Yes, I lost a leg and I have many scars on my body, and I have PTSD, but I have never felt stronger and more beautiful than I do today," Sgt. Coleman said. "America has given that back to me."

After getting settled in, she intends to study at Texas A&M and help other amputees with their rehab, so they can get back on their feet and back to full speed like she did.