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MORTON, Ill. – A 76-year-old Army veteran is being hailed a hero by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The Governor declared yesterday James Vernon Day.

Vernon was teaching a group of kids how to play chess inside the library in Morton on October 13, when a man came in wielding two knives.

Vernon took him on and won.

“He in a threatening moment with families lives on the line, stepped forward, risked his own life to protect you,” Gov. Rauner said.

“I think anybody who was able to do that would have done it,” Vernon said.

Vernon is still recovering from two cut arteries and a damaged tendon.  He’s looking forward to life getting back to normal and teaching kids how to play chess again.