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Durbin hosts two wounded Iraqi vets for Obama's speech to Congress

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IMG_9779.JPG Left, Sgt. McCallum II, Sen. Durbin center, right, Sgt. Rafael Delgado
(photo by Lynn Sweet)

WASHINGTON--Continuing a tradition, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) invited two wounded Illinois vets to be his guests when the president addresses a joint session of Congress.

On Tuesday, Durbin hosted two soldiers who served in Iraq, Sgt. Rafael Delgado, who lives in Garfield Park in Chicago and Sgt. Ralph McCallum II of Springfield.

A blood drive will be held in the upcoming days at Brands Park,
3285 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago in honor of Delgado. Call the park at (773) 478-2414 for date and time.

Below, release from Durbin office....


[WASHINGTON, DC] - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) will host two wounded Illinois soldiers as his guests for the President Barack Obama's Address to a Joint Session of Congress. Prior to the address, Senator Durbin and his guests will hold a media availability TODAY at 5:00 PM ET to discuss the address.

In what has become an annual tradition, two soldiers who served in Iraq, Sergeant Ralph McCallum II of Springfield, Illinois and Sergeant Rafael Delgado of Chicago, Illinois will be Durbin's guests at the Joint Session of Congress and the Secretary of the Senate's dinner immediately preceding the President's address.

Sergeant McCallum enlisted in the Illinois Army National Guard in December 2003 and was deployed to Iraq in May 2007. He was wounded one month later when the Humvee he was riding in was struck by an improvised explosive device. After recovering from his injuries, Sergeant McCallum was assigned to the Community Based Health Care Organization at the Rock Island Arsenal where he assisted fellow wounded warriors deal with their injuries, both physical and mental. Sergeant McCallum is the Army National Guard's Soldier/Family Liaison at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. In this position, he helps injured Soldiers and their families deal with battle injuries and begin the process of reintegration.

Sergeant Delgado served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm as a member of the 1st Cavalry Headquarters Company. Following his return from the Middle East, he worked for seven years as a Legislative Assistant to Illinois State Representative Richard Bradley. Sergeant Delgado deployed to Iraq in November 2007. He was wounded when the Humvee he was riding in was struck by an explosively-formed projectile. Sergeant Delgado is currently an outpatient at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where for the past seven months he has been receiving treatment for a Traumatic Brain Injury.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on February 24, 2009 6:36 PM.

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