Two years ago the football team became involved with Ft. Hood and its soldiers in a way that would make a lasting impression. Gen. John Hammond came to campus and spoke to the team and a few days later was deployed to Iraq.
With him, he took a UMHB football jersey the team had given him as a thank-you gift for speaking. While at the base in Iraq, he hung the jersey in a doorway as a symbol of freedom, letting the soldiers know what they were fighting for.
When Hammond returned from war, he brought the jersey and gave it back to the Crusader football program as a thank you token.
Coach Pete Fredenburg decided to dedicate the jersey in a similar way
Hammond had done while overseas.
“We have hung the jersey up as a memorial for the sacrifices the soldiers have made and what he did,” Fredenburg said.
Along with the jersey hanging in Andersen Field House, the football team this season is wearing a patch on the back of their jerseys and their helmets signifying the 15th Brigade, which just deployed to Iraq from Ft. Hood.
Junior wide receiver Brian Scott is honored that he was able to listen to the speech given two years ago and that he gets to play while wearing the patch.
“Every time I look at the patch either on my jersey or helmet, that overseas someone is fighting for me.
I hope that the team is just as honored as I am, and we really appreciate what Gen. Hammond has done for us and this country, and it will not go unrecognized,” Scott said.
Another player who is grateful for wearing the patch is running back senior Bryson Tucker. He understands the dangers and hardships the soldiers face in war and is thankful for doing something to honor them.
“It also gives motivation and wakes me up and makes me realize no matter how hard or tough it gets on my battlefield that there is someone on a real battle-field fighting for our lives so there is no giving in,” Tucker said.
UMHB crushed the Southern Oregon Raiders this past weekend for the Homecoming game. One of the leading players of the game was Tucker who rushed his career high at 218 rushing yards.
Tucker said,“It shows respect to the guys over there that sacrifice their lives so that we can live a normal life.”