Saturday night, after my dads flight to Baltimore was cancelled, we exhausted all options & did everything we could to try to get my dad to Baltimore in time to make warrior wishes come true at the Ravens game.
ARMY PFC AARON TOPPEN
On June 9, 2014, at the age of 19, PFC Aaron Toppen lost his life during a joint operation of Afghan and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Aaron grew up in Mokena, attended Mokena district 159 schools and graduated from Lincoln-Way East High School in 2013. From a young age, PFC Aaron Toppen was incredibly patriotic and dreamed of following in the footsteps of both his maternal and paternal grandfathers by enlisting in the military to serve the Country he loved.
PFC Aaron Toppen was an outgoing, friendly, patriotic outdoorsman. He enjoyed fishing, hunting, and spending time with his family and friends. He left an impression on everyone he met with his infectious smile and humor. Aaron was to deploy on February 9, 2014 and his deployment was put on hold after his father passed away on February 7, 2014 from a massive heart attack. Aaron was able to get home for his father’s services and was able to say good bye to his family and friends. He deployed on March 7, 2014. Aaron lost his life while on a mission with Special Forces in Gaza Kalay, Afghanistan. Aaron was honored to be asked to join in on this mission. His last text to his sisters and mother was “I love you guys, I am with the best of the best.” Aaron was killed by friendly fire alongside of four other United States Army members and one translator from Afghanistan. This was Aaron’s first deployment, and last. PFC Toppen was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, the Bronze Star, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon and the NATO Medal, the Purple Heart Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the Combat Infantry Badge and is recommended for the Medal of Valor.
Aaron’s mother, Pam, and sister’s, Amy and Amanda vow to keep his name and memory alive. Aaron’s friends and family have risenover $100,000 dollars within the last year that has been donated to charities the family has chosen with great care. The Toppen family was honored to be able to present Operation Warrior Wishes with a $5,000 check this past June, to continue making veterans dreams come true. The excitement of knowing that the donations go to a good cause is what keeps the family smiling.