ELMHURST – Lt. Col. Mark Mallon of Elmhurst expressed his thanks for community support Monday by presenting the city with a flag he had flown over the U.S. military headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan in the city's honor.
"I can't say enough about what our armed services do not only for Elmhurst, but for our entire country," Elmhurst Mayor Steve Morley said.
Born and raised in Elmhurst, Mallon and his wife Lauren live in Elmhurst with their two children. After three tours with the U.S. Army – two in Iraq and one in Afghanistan – Mallon said he's grown to appreciate his hometown of Elmhurst even more.
"I'm one of those people like Steve [Morley], who just never left because it's such a great place," Mallon said.
His parents still live in the same Elmhurst house in which he grew up. Mallon explained he and the mayor have been friends since grade school.
"Steve's [Morley] a big part of it, but Elmhurst as a whole is a huge part of my life and they were there for me when I was gone," Mallon said.
He explained during his tours he received many packages from friends and family, but also schools and organizations.
"He's actually one to rarely accept thanks," Morley said.
When the mayor called Mallon "a true American hero," Mallon shook his head slightly. Before presenting the American flag to the mayor, Mallon said he wasn't there for recognition, but to show his appreciation for Elmhurst.
"I'm here to honor Elmhurst and thank Elmhurst," Mallon said.