Two Airman Awarded Purple Hearts

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TYNDALL AFB After years of serving our country Technical Sergeant Benjamin Wilhelm and Staff Sergeant Anthony Cerrone were honored Friday.

Both presented with purple hearts after being injured during overseas combat tours.

"I have known them both for one year,” said Major Steven Thomas of the 823rd RED HORSE Squadron. “I have been in command of this unit for one year; they are being honored today for injuries that happened back in 2008 and 2009. I didn't know them back them, but they are true Americans and true patriots."

Sergeant Wilhelm and Cerrone both suffered traumatic brain injuries, something Major Thomas says many service men and women suffer from, but goes unnoticed.

"And yet it affects people every single day from that day for the rest of their lives, because it is their brain. It affects them physically and mentally,” said Major Thomas. “And because it is hard to see, so many people and our military members don't know to go get help for it."

Sergeant Cerrone's father says he's proud of his son's service and sacrifice, and will continue to support him through this time of need.

"I will support anybody, and I will help anybody, that is what I believe in, and I believe that is what everyone in this country should be doing, and I will definitely be there to help,” said Timothy Cerrone.

Neither Wilhelm nor Cerrone would speak on camera but when they were presented, the purple hearts you could tell they were very honored, and just happy to see so many people there supporting them.

Major Thomas says these were the first two purple hearts he has ever presented.