United States Army
Rich Bennett, of DeKalb, Ill., served in the Army's 101st Airborne Division. During a deployment to Afghanistan, Rich's unit came under fire on a daily basis. While on an air assault mission to the Korengal Valley, Rich, with no thought for his own safety, ran 35 meters through heavy enemy fire and threw himself on the platoon's fallen medic to shield him from further wounds. Heavy fire continued all around as Rich pulled his fellow soldier to cover. That solider is now recovering from his wounds. For his actions, Rich was awarded the Silver Star. He says he only did what any of his fellow infantrymen would have done. Rich is now pursuing a bachelor's degree at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, and hopes to work with the Wounded Warriors Project after graduation. He is also vice president of the Veterans Club at Northern Illinois University, which works with the local VFW and American Legion to support local veterans.