GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT) All ten qualifying JUCO teams gathered at Two Rivers Convention Center for the JUCO World Series Banquet.
Senior Master Srgt. Israel Del Toro was the guest speaker. Del Toro was severely injured during his tour in Afghanistan in 2005 when his Humvee exploded over a landmine. He still managed to put out the flames and call medical support after calling for an air strike.
Del Toro is a Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient. He's also a gold medalist in the Invictus Games, an Olympic-style competition for injured or wounded veterans.
Del Toro hoped his speech resonated with the young ballplayers.
"Well hopefully they'll be able to, after playing baseball and in just regular life, come into a situation like 'how am I going to get through this?'" They're like, 'hold on, I remember Sergeant Del Toro said think positive, find that fire,'" said Del Toro. "We all have that fire inside of us that drives us. That pushes us. If I find that fire I can continue on my normal everyday living and not let little things hold me down."