DETROIT -- Israel Del Toro was selected as the White Sox winner in the Tribute for Heroes campaign, as announced by Major League Baseball and People magazine on Wednesday. This is a national initiative recognizing veterans and military services members that builds upon both organizations' commitment to honoring our country's heroes, as described in the press release.
Del Toro, who will be included with the other 29 winners in All-Star week festivities in New York, has an especially moving and compelling story as told on tributeforheroes.com. The native of Cibolo, Texas, was given a 15 percent chance of survival after an IED explosion left him with third-degree burns over 85 percent of his body.
The Air Force sergeant was in a remote part of Afghanistan in December 2005 when his Humvee hit a roadside bomb. But Del Toro survived, and after 120 surgeries to date, he is the first 100 percent disabled Airmen service member to re-enlist in the Air Force, currently serving as an instructor. He also recently competed in the Warrior Games.
This multiple medal winner speaks to students and military personnel, urging them not to give up on their dreams. He has been a board member of Operation Home Front, raised $25,000 for the Real Hero's Children's Charity, and participated in three home builds with Habitat for Humanity.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.