COL Lorenzo Valenzuela Survived 7 Major Attacks in Iraq--and because of this, COL Valenzuela is My Military Hero. COL Lorenzo Valenzuela was nominated by US Army (retired) Stephen Benson. In 2006 COL Valenzuela was serving as the Deputy Commander for Gulf Region South, which was the reconstruction arm for the nine provinces south of Baghdad, Iraq. Valenzuela and his team met with local leaders daily and worked on projects that included restoring electricity, and building schools and hospitals. That mission made Valenzuela a threat. "The potential for prosperity was probably the insurgents' greatest fear. Given the opportunity to choose between the insurgency and prosperity, which is what we represented, most would choose prosperity, and so the insurgency needed to do everything they could to stop us from being successful in the reconstruction effort and so they targeted us so that perhaps we would be afraid to go finish the hospital, be afraid to hook the power back up," explains Valenzuela. And so, Valenzuela was the target of numerous attacks. He calls 7 of them "significant... where we actually had to defend ourselves and get out of the scrap... they were intent on taking us down." October was an especially difficult and deadly month. Four major attacks were carried out around Ramadan, a holy time for Muslims. The worst attack was October 19. During his deployment, Valenzuela was injured several times. For his efforts, COL Valenzuela has received 2 Purple Hearts. He left Iraq before his third was given to him. COL Valenzuela then volunteered for a tour in Afghanistan where he served as Deputy to the Commander, NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan (NTM-A) / Combined Security Transition Command. Upon his return he led the Systems Engineering Department at the US Military Academy. His dedication to our country has led to years of sacrifice for COL Valenzuela, his family and his business. Benson commented, "I served under COL Valenzuela as a Special Forces Engineer (Green Beret) and know him as a true professional, a leader of men who was always out front, no matter the danger. COL Valenzuela has always put country first, and for this I am proud to nominate him for this honor." COL Valenzuela lives with his wife in Goodyear and is the proud father of two boys. His two sons are both students--one is attending the United States Air Force Academy and one is enrolled at the United States Military Academy West Point.