02 July 2011

Amid a Sea of Red, White, and Blue, Zach Comes Home

Leading the parade, Erica Lloyd (Miss Rodeo Houston-Harris Co. Teen), Celeste Harvey (2010 Miss Rodeo Texas) Jessica Locke (North Texas State Fair & Rodeo Queen) and Caroyn Robertson (North Texas State Fair & Rodeo Princess) are followed by a Saginaw Fire Truck. Photo: STAR-TELEGRAM/PAUL MOSELEY.

Zach arrives in front of his new home (not in picture), the streets filled with cheering people. Photo: STAR-TELEGRAM/PAUL MOSELEY.

Zach (center) points at the huge crowd in front of his house. Photo: STAR-TELEGRAM/PAUL MOSELEY.

Zach waves to the hundreds gathered for the ceremony in front of his new house. Photo: STAR-TELEGRAM/PAUL MOSELEY.

Southwest Airlines employees staffed the event from start to finish. Photo: STAR-TELEGRAM/PAUL MOSELEY.

Zach shows the emotion of the day as he begins his speech during the ceremony. Photo: STAR-TELEGRAM/PAUL MOSELEY.

Zach and his son Eli enter their new house. Photo: STAR-TELEGRAM/PAUL MOSELEY. To see the inside, go to the photo gallery at the Star-Telegram's website.

Remember when we first introduced you to Marine Cpl. Zach Briseno over three years ago? Since then, we've seen him compete in the Marine Corps Marathon, talk about his injuries, and watched the groundbreaking ceremony for his new home.

Last week, Zach finally came home.

FORT WORTH -- It was a reception rarely seen for a corporal.

Hundreds of people waved flags at a parade, then stood in the wilting heat for several hours Wednesday to honor retired Marine Cpl. Zach Briseno, 25, as he was presented with a new house in northwest Fort Worth.

"To see this many people show up, it's amazing," said a visibly moved Briseno, a 2003 graduate of Castleberry High School whose legs were blown off by a roadside bomb in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2007.
Helping A Hero, a nonprofit based in Houston, awarded its 25th handicapped-accessible house, and its first in North Texas, to Briseno, the father of a 5-year-old boy named Eli.

Among the many people who came to welcome Briseno was Mayor Mike Moncrief and retired Marine Capt. Dan Moran, who was grievously wounded and burned in Iraq in 2006 and received a house in Houston from Helping A Hero.

"What you have done," Moran told the crowd, "is make an investment in Zach. Yes, he's given much. But you have made an impact on his future. This isn't charity. You are going to get a return on this investment."

We're so happy for you, Zach! Wishing you and Elijah many, many years of joy in your new home.

If you know a wounded veteran in Texas who deserves an adaptive home, please contact Helping A Hero.

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