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Features

Nationwide program honors local hero, Joliet native Daniel Acosta

A retired Air Force staff sergeant and Purple Heart recipient, Daniel Acosta served in the Air Force from 2002 to 2009.
A retired Air Force staff sergeant and Purple Heart recipient, Daniel Acosta served in the Air Force from 2002 to 2009.

The Homes for Heroes - Hero of the Month Award is a community award to honor and highlight local heroes who make our communities a better place to live.

Daniel Acosta of Joliet recently received the award. Lisa Johnson, Acosta's aunt, nominated him.

As a retired Air Force staff sergeant and Purple Heart recipient, Daniel Acosta served in the Air Force from 2002 to 2009.

He became a veteran service officer in June of 2019 and is currently employed as a senior caseworker with the Will County Veterans Assistance Program. 

Acosta is a current board member for Adaptive Adventures. Its mission is to provide progressive outdoor sports opportunities to improve the quality of life for children, adults and veterans with physical disabilities and their families. 

He is also an advisory board member for other veteran non-profit organizations such as Tee it Up for the Troops and Coalition to Salute America's Heroes. 

He was recently honored by the NFL and was featured on the NFL’s Salute to Service: Khalil Mack, which aired on Nov. 10.

Purple Heart

On Dec. 7, 2006, Dan was an Air Force EOD technician (explosive ordinance disposal) stationed in Iraq.

Acosta and his team were sent to disarm hidden improvised explosive devices (IED’s). He stepped on a pressure plate that wasn't detected by the metal detection device because it was made of wood. 

He sustained serious injuries and received extensive treatment at Brooks Army Medical Center in Texas where he was visited by George Bush, who was president at the time.

Bush and Dan exchanged challenge coins. Bush gave him his presidential coin and Dan gave Bush his EOD coin. 

For his service, Acosta was awarded the Purple Heart medal by Brig. General Frank Gorenc. 

Acosta's recovery moved at a remarkable speed which he credits to his positive attitude. 

Throughout his recovery he was greeted with so much love from the military medicine community, the local community, family, friends and veterans of all eras. 

Because of that experience, he realized his mission of serving his country was not over. He knew he wanted to pay it forward and empower other veterans. 

For more information about Homes for Heroes, Inc., visit megansheroes.com.

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