A star at the Angels game

ANAHEIM — It wasn't enough for anyone here Saturday to just give Costa Mesa native Daniel Foster a round of applause when he was awarded the U.S. Army's Silver Star medal before the Angels game Saturday night.

No, after thousands inside Angel Stadium gave him a standing ovation before the game, team officials made sure he met the hometown players in their dugout. Then the coach took Foster to meet the umpires and the Toronto Blue Jays manager when they exchanged lineups.

Standing along the dugout fence, Foster had a front-row seat for second baseman Howie Kendrick's first-inning home run. Kendrick made a point to give Foster a high five after rounding the bases.

"This is way more than anything I thought it was going to be," Foster said smiling. "It's overwhelming and humbling."

Keep in mind, he said this as he stood in the stands before receiving his medal, meeting the players or the home run.

It's been a hectic few days for the 23-year-old Estancia High School graduate. Ever since word spread that he was going to receive the Silver Star medal recognizing gallantry in combat for his actions  in Afghanistan in May 2010, everyone wants to talk to him.

One Marine Corpsman told him about combat in Vietnam and asked him about his future plans.

"Go to school and get more teeth," Foster joked, a reference to his noticeably gummy smile since losing many of his teeth while fighting off an attack of his barracks last year.

Foster was standing guard when the enemy launched a large, organized assault on his outpost. Attackers tried to drive in a truck loaded with 500 pounds of explosives, but Foster stopped it in its tracks with machine gun fire and held off the assault until reinforcements came.

After briefly being treated for his wounds, Foster returned to the fight and carried weapons and ammunition to other soldiers. His roommate, Nick Robinson, was awarded a Silver Star in December for his actions that day, too.

Teresa Foster, Daniel's mom, and his dad, Rex, were there Saturday to watch him receive the medal.

"I'm so proud of him, I can fly without a balloon," Teresa Foster said, grinning ear to ear.

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