America’s favorite Hero might be challenged to find practice time this week for his continuing spot on Dancing With the Stars. Last night in New York City, Spc. Alek Skarlatos was honored as “Veteran of the Game” at the World Series. New York is several flight-hours from the practice studios of Los Angeles.
It was Game Three, the New York Mets vs. the Kansas City Royals; just attending the game would be a once-in-a lifetime event for a young man raised in rural Oregon. But when WelcomeBackVeterans.org extended an invitation for Spc. Skarlatos to be recognized at the game, even in the midst of a fierce dance-floor competition, he accepted.
Skarlatos has had a year full of once-in-a-lifetime moments, including returning from a deployment in Afghanistan. But the real roller coaster began when he stepped forward on a Paris-bound train to help take down a terrorist hell-bent on mass murder. Then, with his traveling companions Anthony Sadler and Airman First Class Spencer Stone, he met the President of France. All three men were given the French Medal of Honor. Once back in the United States, they were all honored at the White House by President Obama; following that, Sacramento, California, honored her newest favorite sons with an all-out, city-wide, heroes’ parade.
But the ride in the public spotlight hasn’t been all highs. On Oct. 1, a student at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, came to school and opened fire, killing nine people on campus that day. Not only the very college Alek had planned to attend, but the very classroom he would have been in if not for his spot on Dancing With the Stars. The lows didn’t end there. Skarlatos’ lifelong friend and fellow hero, A1C Stone was stabbed on the street Oct. 8, in Sacramento. Fighting for his life, after one knife blow hit his heart, Stone was released from U.C. Davis Medical Center Oct. 15, to continue his healing at home. Skarlatos and Stone have remained in close contact following the attack.
This morning, Skarlatos and his dancing partner Lindsay Arnold boarded a west-bound plane back to Los Angeles where the grueling training for this coming week’s episode of DWTS will continue. Skarlatos has a link on his Instagram page to a GoFundMe site set up to assist Spencer Stone’s family following the brutal knife attack. Find additional information here.
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