SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Dec. 27, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- In recognition of his service and sacrifice to the country, Purple Heart recipient and Arizona State University graduate, Sgt. Erick Castro will participate in the ceremonial coin toss during the upcoming Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Castro, an honorary guest of Fiesta Bowl title sponsor Frito-Lay and its Tostitos brand, will be joined on field by his wife, Elizabeth, as well as former Arizona Cardinals Quarterback Kurt Warner who was selected as the grand marshal for this year's Fiesta Bowl Parade.
Born in El Ocotito, Guerrero, Mexico, Castro came to the United States with his mother and brother as a child in 1981. Searching for a way to give back to the country that gave his family the promise of a better life, Castro enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1999.
Following a brief tour of duty in Germany, Castro was deployed to Iraq in March, 2003 as part of the 43rd Combat Engineering Company, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. On August 25, 2003, Castro was permanently disabled when an anti-tank weapon hit his vehicle while on patrol in Fallujah. Castro was among three U.S. servicemen injured in that incident.
During rehabilitation at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Castro was awarded a Purple Heart from President George W. Bush. He later received his U.S. citizenship during a private ceremony that took place at the Capitol Hill office of the late Senator Ted Kennedy.
Following medical retirement from the military, Castro moved to Arizona and completed his undergraduate studies at Arizona State University. Today, he is a married father of two who is working toward his master's degree in accounting through the University of Phoenix.
The 40th Annual Tostitos Fiesta Bowl will be broadcast live on Jan. 1, 2011 on ESPN. The coin toss marks the official start to the game, which will feature an exciting match-up between the University of Connecticut and University of Oklahoma. For more information, please visit www.fiestabowl.org.
SOURCE Fiesta Bowl