Killeen — Spc. Alan Perez has been active duty for about a year and is currently stationed at Fort Hood.

He and the 3rd Cavalry regiment are getting ready to deploy to the Middle East on May 1st.

"I just rely on friends, family and God that everything's going to be OK," Perez said.

Sunday, he was awarded a Quilt of Valor. Now, as he looks at nine months in the Middle East, Spc. Perez can feel the embrace of a grateful nation.

"I felt honored," Perez said. "It feels good to know you have a whole country supporting troops."

For the Texas Patriot Piecemakers, who made and awarded his quilt, it was a unique opportunity.

Most quilts are awarded to veterans after a deployment or after a career.

"It's extra special to be able to come in and award this to this young man, prior to his deployment," Stacy Clady with Texas Patriot Piecemakers said.