By Gabriel Roxas

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MCKINNEY (CBSDFW.COM) – A community came together Sunday to honor veterans and help one in particular build a new home. Rain slowed down the annual Smiles Charity concert and festival, but it couldn’t stop the crowd from celebrating and raising money for wounded veterans.

It was a joy to see retired army Sgt. Peter Strauch get to meet his hero, former Dallas Cowboy Tony Casillas. But Casillas is just one of many who came to the annual Memorial Weekend festival to honor the heroes who serve in uniform.

“I’m happy to be here and am so incredibly thankful to all these people. They have truly, truly blessed my family,” said Strauch.

Strauch was chosen to be this year’s recipient of a new home that will be built with proceeds raised by Smiles Charity, a McKinney-based group that hosts the annual concert and family festival. During tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan Strauch survived 14 rocket IED and mortar blasts that caused a severe traumatic brain injury.

“I can function pretty well from day to day, but there’s about three to four times in a week where I have these things called post-concussive migraines,” said Strauch.

The condition means a difficult road ahead for this single dad of two young girls. That’s why a new home will go a long way toward building their future. For those supporting the annual event, a good time for a good cause was a small price to pay to honor those who have made immeasurable sacrifices.

“Seeing this first hand. Seeing that there’s still people that genuinely just want to say thank you and show you love and support, it’s incredible,” said Strauch.

The builders plan to break ground on Strauch’s home later this summer, and he and his family may be able to move in by the end of the year.

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