It’s a 4th of July tradition – cities across the country hold parades to celebrate Independence Day.

In the city of Comfort, right here in south Texas, we found Army Sgt. Michael Boothby in the back of the crowd. Last year, he celebrated the 4th of July in Iraq.

“Even when I was in high school, I wanted to join the military,” said Sgt. Boothby.

This year, he’s in Comfort with his family. It’s truly amazing when you consider how his life changed last fall. In September of 2006, a roadside bomb left Michael with a traumatic brain injury. He lost 75% of his vision.

Now a dog named Gracie is an important part of Michael’s rehabilitation.

“With petting them, I couldn’t use my left hand at all,” said Sgt. Boothby. “I could open and close it and petting them, I have been able to open and close it. So it’s been bringing it back a little bit more.”

Gracie is a therapy dog. She and her caretaker visit Michael each week. They’re part of the “Penny’s From Heaven” organization. It’s named after Penny, a golden retriever.

Michael says he now wants to help other wounded soldiers. His goals include eventually becoming a caretaker of his own therapy dog.