Providence Catholic High School welcomed back one of their own. US Air Force Master Sergeant Israel Del Toro, a Purple Heart recipient and Providence Catholic High School alumnus ’93 was announced as the honorary captain at the Providence vs. St. John Vianney football game Friday night.
In 2005 while serving in the U.S. Air Force, Master Sgt. Del Toro’s Humvee rolled over an IED burning over 80% of his body and was given a 15% chance of survival. Del Toro defied all the odds and made a miraculous recovery. After more than 100 surgeries, Del Toro went on to become the first airman to re-enlist after becoming eligible for a medical retirement and served as Tactical Air Control Party for five years.
Del Toro took on adaptive sports during his rehabilitation and participated in the 2016 Invictus Games where he set a world record in shot put, discus and javelin and won a gold medal. In addition to the Purple Heart, he was awarded the Army Commendation Medal in recognition of his actions while serving in the U.S. Air Force in Afghanistan, and was recently awarded the Pat Tillman Award for Service at the 25th ESPY Awards.
In addition to being announced as the honorary captain, Del Toro spoke with the Celtic football team before Friday nights game and reunited with his classmates from the class of ’93. “It is an awesome feeling to be back at Providence”, said Del Toro. “Seeing some of my old teachers, coaches and classmates is a very unique experience for me”. Del Toro credits Providence Catholic High School for preparing him for life’s biggest challenges. “they teach you about community service and taking care of each other and I was able to carry that with me throughout the military and my life”.
Del Toro plans to retire from the US Air Force in 2020 and continue to public speaking as a way to eliminate the stigma of disabilities and prove that with perseverance no obstacles are too great.
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