In 2014, at the age of 19, PFC Aaron Toppen went overseas for the the first time in his life to Afghanistan. On June 9 in Zabul province he was on a mission to secure the area for the upcoming presidential election when his unit encountered Taliban resistance. Aaron, along with 4 other Americans and an Afghan interpreter, lost their lives in a tragic friendly fire incident. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Gaza_Valley_airstrike
Aaron grew up in Mokena, IL, attended Mokena district 159 schools and graduated from Lincoln-Way East High School in 2013. He was a local boy. From a young age he dreamed of following in the footsteps of his maternal and paternal grandfathers by enlisting in the military.
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 the Medal of Valor.
Family and friends, intent on remembering Aaron and feeling a need to pay back and pay forward the incredible support experienced during the tragedy, began holding fundraising events within months of Aaron’s death. The Our Fallen Hero Foundation was formed as an official 501(c)(3) charity in spring of 2018.
Our purpose is to honor Aaron’s memory though charitable, benevolent and patriotic activities. The charity is emphatically non-political.