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Israel Del Toro wins Pat Tillman Award for Service

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Israel Del Toro will be given the Pat Tillman Award for Service at the 25th ESPYS on July 12 in Los Angeles.

Del Toro was injured in Afghanistan in 2005 when his Humvee rolled over a bomb. He lost most of his fingers, was burned over the majority of his body and was in a coma for three months. When he came out of the coma, he was told he'd likely never walk or breathe on his own again.

Del Toro used sports as part of his rehabilitation and was not only able to walk and breathe on his own, but he also became the first 100 percent combat disabled Air Force technician to re-enlist in the service.

He also took part in the Invictus Games, a competition for wounded service members. In 2014, he won a silver medal in powerlifting, and in 2016, he captured gold in the shot put.

The Pat Tillman Award was established in 2014 to honor the former NFL player and U.S. Army Ranger who died in combat in 2004. Winners have a strong connection to service and sports.

"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."