A hero at Heinz Field

The ATI Salute to Heroes presentation on Sunday was like no other.

Master Gunnery Sergeant Timothy P. Mecca of the United States Marine Corp retired after 33 years of service. He participated in numerous operations, including Operation Guardian Retrieval in the Congo; Operation Nobel Obelisk in Sierra Leone; Operation Joint Forge in the Adriatic Sea, Security Mission in Tirana, Albana; Operation Unified Assistance in Sri Lanka and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

On one of his missions he was in a bunker that was hit by a blast. He suffered a head injury that knocked him unconscious, and also suffered damage to his left arm, both shoulders and his spine. When he regained consciousness, he immediately checked on his fellow Marines and others in the area. He came upon an Army National Guard Soldier that sustained severe injuries and rendered assistance. He brought the soldier to safety and eventually returned to his bunker, where because of his injuries lost consciousness again but survived. His injuries included a C-spine injury, traumatic brain injury, hearing loss, cervical radiculopathy, neuritis cervical, presbyopia, cervical spondylosis and concussion.

He was told he was going to be coming to Heinz Field to receive a Combat Action Ribbon for what he went through, but he got something much greater.

After 12 years, Mecca was awarded his Purple Heart.

That wasn't the only surprise. Rocky Bleier was on hand to present Mecca with a trip to the Super Bowl, courtesy of the Steelers.