WASHINGTON (Army News Service, July 31, 2014) — Sgt. Thomas Block was honored Wednesday night as the 2014 Army Times Soldier of the Year for his tenacity, resilience and setting the bar beyond what a Ranger and Soldier should be.
Less than 10 months ago, Block was severely wounded and lost his right eye from a suicide bomb detonation in Afghanistan that hurled him 35 feet through the air. Now his recovery and drive serve as an example to others.
For the last 14 years the Military Times newspapers have honored five “everyday heroes” — service members who have demonstrated pride, dedication and courage beyond what is expected in their military duties.
At this year’s presentation and reception on Capitol Hill, former congressman Chet Edwards opened the event saying not only did the winners demonstrate pride, dedication and courage; they also showed concern for their fellow service members, their communities and the country.
“They display a consistent high standard of professional performance and commitment to their communities,” he said. “Their actions make a daily difference in our lives and in the world around us, and they exemplify the very best of who we are as Americans.”
Following several guest speakers, Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. John C. Campbell addressed the crowd, saying it was an absolute honor and privilege to talk about a great Soldier.
“As we know there’s strong and there’s Army Strong and then there’s Army Sgt. Block-Strong,” Campbell said. “We instill seven core values in all of the fine young men and women who step forward to wear our uniform — loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage. Sgt. Block has proven himself to be the living embodiment of all those core values.”
He next relayed Block’s Afghanistan survival story of Oct. 5. Less than 10 months ago, Block was on patrol with 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, looking for insurgents planning suicide bombing attacks in the southern part of the country.
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