Staff Sergeant Michael McDowell has served in the United States military for more than twenty years.
He graduated from East Peoria High School in 1987, and attended Southern Illinois University before joining the Marine Corps in 1990.
Not long after basic training, Michael deployed to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait during desert storm.
When his time with the Marines was up, he continued his service with the Army National Guard.
He worked with them in Illinois and after he moved to North Carolina in 2008.
In August of 2012, he was chosen to head Army National Guard operations at camp Marmal in Afghanistan.
But at the end of last year, Michael experienced severe back pain after an incident with a vehicle.
He is now home receiving treatment.