Hometown Hero earns award & pays it forward

By Amanda Porterfield | aporterfield@wcia.com

Published 11/08 2013 06:52PM

Updated 12/12 2014 11:10AM

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS -- This veteran's story just got a little better with a shiny, new medal added to his chest. Every military member hopes to get the Bronze Medal.

This Hometown Hero received one for his efforts overseas, but he also uses those experiences to mentor future heroes. Major Christopher Bourbeau is an instructor at UI, teaching ROTC to future marines. By doing that, he's paying it forward which is something he says others did for him. He adds it helped him get to where he is now.

There was a ceremony for Major Bourbeau to receive the Bronze Medal. It's the fourth highest individual military award. He's done a lot to get here. He's done five different tours in Iraq and Afghanistan; many times as a pilot.

The latest tour, which ended in May, was different. He and a team of 60 help train Afghan soldiers which is the job for which he earned this medal.

Bourbeau says this one is a lot more than just a new piece of flair to show his students. It's a symbol of the job and what it took to get it done. Bourbeau says he pretty much knew the military was for him. His father was also in the military.

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