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President Obama honors Rancho Cucamonga Marine with Purple Heart

October 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Marine from Rancho Cucamonga was honored with the Purple Heart award by President Barack Obama on Monday.

Cpl. Justin Crabbe, 22, has gotten used to being surrounded by family and friends in his National Naval Medical Center hospital room in Maryland.

Crabbe's family posted a video on YouTube of the commander in chief in hospital scrubs presenting him the award. It's rare for the president to make such a presentation in person.

"This is a testimony to the high regard and honor the entire country feels towards you and your service," Obama said.

Kathie Conaway, a long-time family friend, said it was a special moment for the family.

"I think Justin was kind of in disbelief," Conaway said.

Shortly after graduating from Los Osos High School, Crabbe followed in his grandfather's footsteps and became one of the few and the proud.

The Marine recently headed for Afghanistan. But on Aug. 26, everything changed for Crabbe and his unit.

"They were out on patrol, looking for IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and he ran into one," Conaway said.

Crabbe lost parts of both legs and several fingers.

"It was devastating," Conaway said. "I was in disbelief the whole time."

Crabbe's family has been by his side ever since, as have his buddies. The president says the country will remain by his side as well.

A car show fundraiser will be held for Crabbe on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011, from noon to 3 p.m. at Legends Burgers, located at 8775 Baseline Road in Rancho Cucamonga.


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