Friday's Kane County Cougars game offered more to celebrate than just the team's win over the Clinton LumberKings.
Members of the AFFI Warrior Program and local firefighters presented a new truck to a deserving Illinois wounded military veteran, Josh Kerber of West Chicago. The car presentation took place on the field after the game. Kerber's young son, also named Joshua, received a toy red truck as well.
This season, the AFFI Warrior Program, made up of firefighters from Geneva, Batavia, St. Charles, West Chicago and Elburn, has sold commemorative T-shirts to fans during Cougars games at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva.
Kerber was born and raised in West Chicago and joined the Army in 2008. Following basic and specialized training, Kerber was assigned to the 16th Combat Brigade, 118th Military Police Company. In October 2009, during a nighttime security operation, Josh's convoy came under heavy enemy fire. Josh was the gunner on the lead vehicle, which took the most fire.
Because of his bravery under fire, Kerber was credited by the company commander with saving the lives of countless fellow soldiers. As a result of the wounds he sustained, Kerber lost his left arm and underwent three major surgeries and four months of rehabilitation before he was able to return home.
In his three-year career with the United States Army, Kerber received numerous commendations and medals including the Purple Heart Medal, Combat Action Medal and The Global War on Terrorism Medal.
The AFFI Warrior program is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for wounded military veterans in the state of Illinois. For details, see the group's Facebook page.