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Fargo soldier to receive American Patriot Award

Sgt. Sam Floberg of Fargo, who lost part of his right leg in a November 2006 rocket attack in Afghanistan, receives a Purple Heart medal during an April 2007 ceremony. Photo courtesy of North Dakota Air National Guard

A North Dakota Army National Guard soldier from Fargo who lost part of his right leg in a rocket attack will become the first veteran of the war in Afghanistan to receive the American Patriot Award.

Sgt. Sam Floberg will receive the award during a ceremony at 5 p.m. today at the West Fargo VFW, 308 Sheyenne St.

The award was created in July by The American Patriot Program, a group of nine baseball organizations from around the country that honor combat-wounded veterans, according to the group's Web site.

On Nov. 23, 2006, Floberg was on a combat patrol mission with the 188th Air Defense Artillery unit in Afghanistan when his vehicle was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade.

The attack killed the vehicle's driver, Cpl. Nathan Goodiron, 25, of Mandaree, N.D., and injured Floberg and Sgt. Claude O'Berry, also of Mandaree. Floberg's right leg had to be amputated above the knee.

The award recognizes Floberg for "the sacrifice you made and the service you gave toward the preservation and defense of America," according to a Guard news release.

It's the fifth time the award has been presented.

North Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Lonnie Wangen nominated Floberg for the award.

Floberg, 31, said Wednesday he knew he'd been nominated but was "kind of shocked" to learn he was selected for the award.

"I'm honored to be receiving it," he said.

As part of today's event, he'll receive a bat from The American Patriot Program and a baseball signed by the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks.

Floberg graduated from Fargo North High School in 1996 and signed up for the Guard in 2003. He currently attends North Dakota State University, where he's leaning toward majoring in business and finance, he said.