BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A local Army veteran was awarded the Purple Heart during a ceremony Monday at the VA Western New York Health Center.
While serving in Afghanistan in July 2009, Sgt. Benjamin Benally was knocked unconscious and injured his arm when his convoy was struck by an IED. He was later diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury.
Dozens of veterans attended the ceremony to show their support for Benally.
"The outpouring of community support here at the VA hospital and Buffalo, I think is indicative of the goodness of the people in Buffalo and Western New York, but also recognizing the extraordinary sacrifice that Sgt. Benally rendered on behalf of his country," said Rep. Brian Higgins, D-26th District.
After returning home in 2010, Benally graduated from Niagara University.
The Army broadened the criteria for the Purple Heart in 2011 to include soldiers who suffered brain injuries in the line of duty.