Columnist: DEA Agent Joe Piersante “Is Every American’s Hero”

Toledo Blade Columnist

At the Adrian College vs. Kalamazoo College game last weekend the band played the Star Spangled Banner as it always does. Spectators on both sides of the field rose to their feet as the flag was raised, as is expected.

But at this game a wave of patriotism larger than usual swept over the stadium when Joe Piersante walked onto the field and held his right hand over his heart as the national anthem was played.

Adrian College proudly claims Special Agent Joe Piersante as its hero and honored him at the game and two nights previous at the annual president’s dinner. Joe graduated in 1991 from Adrian with a degree in criminal justice. According to Coach Mike Duffy, Joe was a valuable linebacker on the team and still holds the four-year tackle record.

To be accurate, Joe is every American’s hero for what he did for our country and for what he must endure the rest of his life.

Joe was blinded by gunfire in Afghanistan when he was serving as a special agent in the Drug Enforcement Administration on Oct. 30, 2011.

During the short time I chatted with Joe at a pre-game reception before his football pals crowded around him, it was clear that he was honored to be back on campus and appreciates the attention from his alma mater, but he does not want to be drenched with sympathy. Only once did he refer to his blindness.

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