Bennett, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Northern Illinois University, wants to work with the Wounded Warrior Project after graduation, according to his profile on the voting website. He is also vice president of NIU’s Veterans Club.Each baseball team has three individuals in the running, each meritorious. Voting closes June 30. Chicago rules may apply.
This is his second stint at NIU. He attended the university in 2001 shortly after graduating high school in St. Charles. At that time, partying was more important, and he dropped out.
He became a bartender, and later worked as a restaurant manager at several places. He decided to enlist in 2009 at the age of 28 after watching the continuous news coverage of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“I felt really empty watching these wars drag on,” Bennett said. “I didn’t feel like I was giving my full potential. So I joined the Army. I said if I can stand behind these guys, I sure ... can stand with them.”
Silver Star recipient Richard Bennett is a candidate for Major League Baseball and People's "Tribute for Heroes" award. His story also illustrates the value of second chances in higher education.