After misplacing his green card in 1969, veteran Henry Kamnick finally got a replacement in July 2012. (Credit: Arezow Doost/KTVT)

AZLE (CBSDFW.COM) – A veteran who served our country finally received something he’s waited on for decades –– proof of his citizenship.

Henry Kamnick has always considered himself an American. He just never had the paperwork to prove it.

He was stationed at Fort Hood while he served in the Army. The 65-year-old’s family moved to North Texas from Germany when he was 12 years old. He’s lived in Azle for the past few years, and his plight got the attention of U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess (R ­–– Lewisville).

“Well, I lost my green card in ’69 and I tried to get my green card back and had trouble getting it,” Kamnick said.

The veteran hadn’t been able to collect about $40,000 in social security benefits because he needed to prove his permanent residency. He couldn’t do that without the green card.

Burgess has dealt with similar bungles. In January, Burgess said he feared the problem may be much larger.

“I think we did over a hundred social security inquiries last year,” Burgess said then. “I guess the bigger concern to me, of the 100 I’m be exposed to every year, are there another 100, 200 or 1,000 that are not coming to someone’s attention?”

After that previous broadcast, Kamnick said the Catholic Charities reached out and helped him.

“They had to go through the archives to find me,” Kamnick said.

The nonprofit helps provide legal help in immigration cases. It took six months to finally find Kamnick’s paperwork.

“I think the biggest challenge was really figuring out where to begin,” said Jenna Carl, an attorney for the Catholic Charities of Dallas. “It’s nice to be able to contribute to help him out. He served our country, so it’s nice to be able to help him out.”

And, at last, he now has the proof he’s been waiting for.

“I feel like I’ve been reborn,” Kamnick said after taking the oath. “It’s a form of relief. It’s a lot of pressure off my mind and feels like my heart has enlarged greatly.”