Wounded veteran Israel Del Toro and 29 others honored at MLB All-Star Game at Citi Field


Air Force veteran Israel Del Toro, pictured with news editor Charlotte Howard, was honored with 29 other vets at the MLB All-Star Game.

CITI FIELD — The MLB All-Star Game was here July 16 in New York City.  This stadium was packed with all kinds of different fans from around the country. In the beginning of the game, there were 30 veterans invited to this game to honor them for all of the hard work they did for us. But the 30 veterans didn’t just get invited; it took a lot more than that.

There was a contest in which people all over the country voted for these 30 veterans. There were 1,000 veterans nominated to go on to Citi Field.  These veterans were voted by the same people who voted for the MLB All-Star players.

One veteran named Israel Del Toro fought in three wars: Iraq,  Afghanistan and Bosnia. Mr. Del Toro was in the Air Force and originally grew up in Chicago. Now, he lives in San Antonio, Texas, with his wife and son.

All of the 30 veterans went on the field. Each of the starters of both All-Star teams stood next to one veteran and greeted them.

Mr. Del Toro is a huge White Sox fan and is a big fan of baseball. He was injured with 80 percent of his body burned in an IED explosion in Afghanistan. Mr. Del Toro was in a coma for three months. He was told that he had almost died three times and would never walk again or breathe without  a respirator.  He has had 120 surgeries in his lifetime and still has more to come.

Mr. Del Toro has spent the last four years convincing the U.S. Air Force to allow him to re-enter.  Mr. Del Toro wasn’t just an ordinary person from the Air Force. He was spectacular in what he did. Mr. Del Toro said, “I love my job, I love what I do” as a person who serves his country.

In this reporter’s opinion, Israel del Toro was remarkable.  It was an honor to meet a man with such great pride for our country and a person who doesn’t give up.  He is my hero because he kept trying and didn’t give up on his dream of going back into the Air Force.