EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — There was huge praise and a big surprise for a Long Island Army veteran at MetLife Stadium Sunday.

As CBS2’s Jessica Moore reported, lifelong Giants fan Steve Devries went just to see his team play the Philadelphia Eagles. But he left with a new best friend at his side.

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The decorated Army veteran, who served as a combat medic, stood on the field at MetLife Stadium Sunday. He awaited a surprise that will undoubtedly change his life.

At the end of the first quarter of the game, Devries embraced a certified service dog named Levi — the best friend that he has waited 18 long months to meet.

“I’m overwhelmed; speechless almost,” said Devries, a Long Island native. “This is so exciting.”

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Devries served two tours in Iraq, where he was awarded a medal of honor. But he said nothing compares to a gift of love.

“He’s Levi, and he’s beautiful,” Devries said. “I’m so appreciative and so grateful for everyone who did this for me. I want to thank the Wounded Warriors and American Semper K9. It’s just unbelievable; overwhelming.”

Levi’s training as a certified service dog promises to soothe the scars Devries earned on the battlefield.

“Just with everyday life and confidence – going out in the community; being a better husband and father for my wife and daughter,” Devries said. “That’s really how I hope he can help me.”

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Levi does not care much about where Devries has been. But where he’s going, and from now on, the American hero will never go it alone.