LOS ANGELES, Calif. - An inspirational figure in the Colorado Springs military community, especially the Air Force Academy, was awarded the Pat Tillman Award for Service at the 2017 ESPYS on Thursday night.
Air Force Sgt. Israel Del Toro was called up to the ESPYS stage to receive the award that honors an individual with a strong connection to sports and who serves others in a way that echoes Pat Tillman's legacy.
Tillman was a former NFL player and U.S. Army Ranger who died in combat in 2004.
"First, I'm humbled for even being considered for this prestigious award named after Pat Tillman, a man I admire, but to actually receive this honor is unbelievable," Del Toro said in a statement. "When I heard that Pat Tillman gave up a career in the NFL to serve his country after the 911 attacks, it gave me so much pride to call him a brother in arms. He truly is a shining example of Service Before Self. To Mrs. Tillman and the Pat Tillman Foundation, I give you my pledge that I'll always try to live up to the true meaning of the Pat Tillman Award for Service in everything I do, and to represent his spirit to the best of my ability."
Del Toro was involved in a Humvee accident while on a tour in Afghanistan in 2005. The Humvee rolled over a buried mine and exploded. He suffered burns over 80 percent of his body and lost all of his fingers on his left hand.
Del Toro is an Air Force Wounded Warrior and was officially promoted to master sergeant in February of 2016. He is a former Tactical Control Party instructor.