A Vietnam veteran received a huge thank you for his military service on Monday morning in Richardson, Texas.
“We was going to ambush them and they ambushed us before we could get to ’em,” Gilbert “Frenchy” Benoit told WFAA of the moment a bullet struck him in 1968.
“That day, an AK-47 round shattered his left hip as he and other U.S. Coast Guard crew patrolled the coastline and rivers of Cambodia and Vietnam,” the outlet said.
After being in a body cast for months, several years in the hospital, and six hip replacements, Benoit lost both his legs due to infections ten years ago.
Because of his sacrifice, the veteran received the Purple Heart, the Navy Commendation Medal with Valor, and a Vietnam Service Medal with two Bronze Stars.
The Purple Heart is “one of the most recognized and respected medals awarded to members of the U.S. armed forces,” according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
“Introduced as the ‘Badge of Military Merit’ by General George Washington in 1782, the Purple Heart is also the nation’s oldest military award,” the agency continued.
“The dealership, along with Wells Fargo and the Military Warriors Support Foundation, offered Benoit the 2020 Nissan NV200 payment-free,” the WFAA article said.
The van features a remote start so Benoit and his wife can have it warm in the winter and cool in the summer before they get inside. It will also be outfitted with hand controls and a wheelchair ramp by the Veterans Administration.
“Maybe this can be a little bit of positive light for him going forward and he seems pretty happy about it so I’m happy to be a part of it,” said the dealership’s general manager, Brady Bishop.
When Benoit accepted the gift, he called it “absolutely wonderful,” adding, “It’s a warm feeling that I have. Oh, it means everything in the world!”