below, release from Durbin….
DURBIN MEETS WITH MORTON GROVE RESIDENT WHO RECEIVED DEFENSE OF FREEDOM MEDAL FOR SERVICE IN IRAQ
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with Neil Daniel of Morton Grove who was awarded the Defense of Freedom medal earlier today. The Defense of Freedom medal – the civilian equivalent of the Purple Heart – is given to civilians who are wounded or killed in action while serving with the U.S. armed forces.
“Neil Daniel has given so much in service to our nation. I am honored to have been able to meet with him and his family this afternoon,” said Durbin.
In 2008, Daniel was working in Iraq as a translator for an Army battalion. As he was leaving a government meeting, one of the Iraqi council members opened fire in an effort to assassinate his battalion commander. Daniel suffered extremely severe wounds, including a traumatic brain injury. Two soldiers were killed and three others were wounded in the attack. Daniel has had multiple surgeries since his return to the U.S.
Daniel was born in Iraq. During the Iraq-Iran war, he and his family travelled north towards the Kurdish regions and made their way into Iran, where they were detained by the Iranian government, interned in a camp in southern Iran, and deported to Syria. Neil ultimately made it to the U.S. and became a naturalized citizen in 1997.