Two fallen warriors from Wheaton -- Marine Lance Cpl. Nicholas Larson and Army Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller -- were recognized Saturday afternoon with inaugural honorary street signs in Wheaton.
"Two great warriors. God bless them," said Bob "Doc" Adams, co-founder of Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans, who asked the city earlier this year to begin a street sign program. "A life given in service of one's country is one that never ends, that never dies. We honor their sacrifice."
The Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans has named two transitional homes in Wheaton after Miller and Larson, who graduated from Wheaton North High School in 2002 and 2003, respectively.
Veterans and supporters gathered at the Midwest Shelter's LCpl. Nicholas Larson Home for Veterans, 119 N. West St., before heading down the block for the unveiling of Larson's sign at the southwest corner of Front and West streets. Miller's sign is at the southwest corner of West and Wesley streets.
Miller was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award for valor, for his actions on Jan. 25, 2008, in Afghanistan when he sacrificed his own life to save the lives of his unit and 15 Afghanistan National Army soldiers.
Larson was killed in November 2004 during the assault on Fallujah, Iraq.
Dave Larson said he and his wife, Anne, were humbled and honored by the city and shelter's recognition of their son. Dave Larson recalled years ago when his son wanted to become a Navy SEAL and had poster on his door with names of fallen SEALS. Now, Nicholas Larson's name is memorialized in many places.
"It's kind of sad, but I'm honored," said Dave Larson, a Vietnam veteran.
Bobby Kaye, a veteran and Miller's best friend, said he could not have envisioned the honor in Miller's name a decade ago.
"I felt Rob protected me and protected us," Kay said, adding that Miller's parents, Phil and Maureen, who live in Florida, were extremely thankful and grateful. "You cannot remove a street from a city. His name will be forever planted here."
Founded by veterans in 2007, the Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans is a nonprofit agency based in DuPage County that provides housing, supportive services and community outreach to help homeless and at-risk veterans and their families achieve self-sufficiency.
For more information or to donate or volunteer, visit helpaveteran.org or call (630) 871-VETS or (630) 871-8387.