Injured U.S. Army veteran Sgt. Robert Scott III looked up at the brown street sign bearing his name and smiled. Minutes before, Town of Hempstead officials Saturday had dedicated the street in front of his Lakeview childhood home in his honor.
"It's a blessing being alive and just looking up and seeing heaven and seeing my name," Scott said.
Scott, 42, suffered severe brain damage stemming from wounds sustained in a 2009 bomb attack on his tank in Kuwait, said his mother, Valence Scott.
He can now walk and talk, but he has limited short-term memory, so he usually can't remember anything that just occurred, his mother said. She is his caregiver in the Washington, D.C., area, where he receives treatment and therapy.
But the two often return to Lakeview. Now, they will see the commemorative sign from the front window of the home where the sergeant's father still lives year-round.
"I'm more proud of him than I can express," Robert Scott Jr. said of his son.
Town Supervisor Kate Murray described Sgt. Robert Scott III as "a true American hero."
"It is critically important that we never forget the wounded warriors whose courage and sacrifice can never be repaid," she said.
About 50 other street signs in Hempstead have been dedicated to fallen soldiers or police officers, firefighters and civilians who died in the 9/11 attacks or from 9/11-related illnesses, Murray said. Scott is the first living wounded veteran with the distinction.
During the dedication ceremony, Scott stood quietly in his polished black shoes and dark blue and black uniform listening to Murray and others praise his service to his country.
After the speeches, he walked toward a rope dangling from a blue cloth covering the commemorative sign and pulled a wooden handle. The cloth fell to the ground and the "Sgt. Robert Scott Blvd." sign appeared.
"It's amazing and overwhelming to see your name up in the sky," Scott said.