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updated: 8/18/2017 8:55 AM

Medal of Honor recipient meets Wheaton North football team

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  • Jim McCloughan, a Medal of Honor Recipient, shakes the hands of Wheaton North High School football players after he spoke to them at the school on Thursday.

      Jim McCloughan, a Medal of Honor Recipient, shakes the hands of Wheaton North High School football players after he spoke to them at the school on Thursday.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Jim McCloughan, a Medal of Honor recipient, speaks to Wheaton North High School football players on Thursday.

      Jim McCloughan, a Medal of Honor recipient, speaks to Wheaton North High School football players on Thursday.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Jim McCloughan, a Medal of Honor recipient, speaks to Wheaton North High School football coach Joe Wardynski on Thursday before giving a talk to the football players.

      Jim McCloughan, a Medal of Honor recipient, speaks to Wheaton North High School football coach Joe Wardynski on Thursday before giving a talk to the football players.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • President Donald Trump presents the Medal of Honor to retired Army medic James McCloughan on July 31. McCloughan saved 10 of his fellow platoon members in 1969 in Vietnam.

    President Donald Trump presents the Medal of Honor to retired Army medic James McCloughan on July 31. McCloughan saved 10 of his fellow platoon members in 1969 in Vietnam.
    AP File Photo

  • James McCloughan is shown in 1969 with a platoon interpreter in Vietnam.

    James McCloughan is shown in 1969 with a platoon interpreter in Vietnam.
    AP File photo

 
 

"You have to face every challenge of this game with courage," Jim McCloughan told members of the Wheaton North High School football team on Thursday.

McCloughan should know. He was honored this summer for saving the lives of 10 members of his platoon during the Battle of Nui Yon Hill in May 1969 in Vietnam.

On June 13, McCloughan became the first person to whom President Donald Trump presented the Medal of Honor, the nation's top military award.

Dan Korntheuer, director of high school instruction at Wheaton North, brought McCloughan to the school through contacts from the Medal of Honor Foundation.

He spoke to students after their practice and answered a few questions. He shook hands with the players after his talk.

After returning home from the war, McCloughan taught high school sociology and psychology and coached football, wrestling and baseball for 38 years.

McCloughan used an acronym from Medal -- Man-up, excellence, duty, attitude and love -- as part of his talk.

"Strive to get better every day," he told the players.

Head football coach Joe Wardynski was impressed with McCloughan.

"It's a pretty cool opportunity," Wardynski said, "to put somebody like that in front of our group of young student athletes."

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