MANHASSET, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – An Army veteran nearly beaten to death in a road rage attack is thanking the doctors who gave him his life back.

Luis Rios returned home to Long Island this year, after serving in Afghanistan.

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In July, the 25-year-old was a passenger in a friend’s car when they were cut off by another driver in Brentwood.

A verbal argument then turned violent. Rios was hit in the face several times with a crowbar, leaving him disfigured.

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Surgeons at North Shore University Hospital then performed two reconstructive surgeries – free of charge.

“I am able to get my life back, be who I am – which is a person who likes to walk with my head held high, happy with the people around me… I can smell again, sleep again, and I am very grateful to Northwell and everything they’ve done for me,” Rios said.

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Doctors decided to operate for free, after learning the veteran had no insurance and could not afford the surgeries.