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Purple Heart Veteran and Windsor Native Rick Yarosh Gets Homecoming Befitting a Hero

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VESTAL, N.Y. -

The roles changed on Thursday for Iraq War Veteran and Windsor native sergeant Rick Yarosh.

Fox 40 was there when the guy who spends his life helping others got a thank you befitting a hero.

“Halfway up the road, I couldn't talk because I was crying and so that was part of the overwhelming feeling of love and care from everyone”, said Yarosh.

Dozens of veterans, active military, neighbors, and loved ones came out for today's homecoming.

Tunnel to Towers, an organization that helps first responders, and injured veterans and was started in the name of Stephen Siller, a firefighter who gave his life to save others on September 11th, 2001. The organization handing Yarosh the keys to his Costly Road home in Vestal.

Yarosh said, “ The excitement of seeing this is going to take a very long time to take in, to see everything and how beautiful it is”.

Beautiful and custom built for Yarosh, including a security system that lets him lock his doors from his phone.

When asked what was the favorite part of his new smart home Yarosh responded, "Something about locking the doors, we didn't lock the doors in our current home because I have a problem with keys so we don't lock our doors,

In 2006 his vehicle was hit by an IED leaving 60% of his body burned, losing his left leg and a partial loss of function in his hands meaning features like pull down cabinets and smart appliances will make his everyday life easier.

“I have a hard time saying i’m deserving of something like this” said Yarosh. But his former Junior Varsity football and wrestling coach Tim Hogan says that's not the case, " I can't imagine anyone more deserving of something like this" says Hogan.

Now a motivational speaker, Yarosh travels the country speaking to students about the importance of giving hope to others.

“In the beginning, there were hopeless times where I didn’t think I could live”, said Yarosh.

“A little girl, who all she said was, he’s really nice, that's all I needed to get me through something really difficult, that was the hope she gave me and she changed my life”

But on Thursday it was dozens that made sure to thank him for his service to his country and community.