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Hoosier hero injured in Iraq presented with Purple Heart

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INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 24, 2014) - It's one of the military's highest honors, and Wednesday at the Indiana War Memorial, a local veteran injured in Iraq finally received his Purple Heart.

“It’s an honor, it’s a very high honor,” said Sgt. 1st Class Douglas Lawson, who served overseas with the Indiana National Guard.

He was injured in 2009, suffering lacerations and concussive injuries after an IED blast.

Lawson was part of a security convoy in Iraq, and was the driver of the lead gun truck that day.

“He received an IED to his vehicle,” said Major General R. Martin Umbarger. “(But) he still moved out of the kill zone and went on to repel the enemy, not thinking of his wounds, just doing the job a soldier is trained to do and we couldn’t be more proud of him.”

Lawson's wife and three daughters were also at the ceremony.

“I’m just very proud of him (and) very honored to be up here with him,” said Lawson’s wife, Jessica.

“I do feel appreciative, very appreciative,” said Lawson. “You don’t ever really want this award because nine times out of 10 you don’t get to see yourself presented with it. It is a huge honor and I very humbly accept it.”

And as for the renewed hostilities in Iraq, involving ISIS, Lawson says he's hoping for the best for the Iraqi people, though in many ways, he still wants to keep his feelings on Iraq to himself.

“What it was set ought to be is what I would hope for them,” Lawson said. “I have my personal beliefs but I keep them pretty personal.”

These days, his mind is on his family, while he also thinks of those he served with overseas.

“I just want to say thank you to the guys that were with me that day,” said Lawson. “I think about them all the time.”

Hoosier Heroes is an Emmy Award-winning segment that focuses on Indiana veterans. View other Hoosier Heroes stories here.