The Mauston football team has a special plan to honor those who serve our country.
On Friday, Sept. 9, the Golden Eagles are hosting the first Rescue, Protect and Serve Night before kickoff of their game against the Marshall Cardinals at Mauston High School.
The event will honor military personnel and veterans, fire and rescue workers and law enforcement officers.
The football team is inviting those who serve to wear their uniforms and create a human tunnel for the Golden Eagles as they march onto the field.
Those wishing to participate should check in at the stadium ticket booth by 6:30 p.m. The National Anthem will be played around 6:55 p.m. Kickoff for the game is at 7 p.m.
“As a football program, we decided to do something special to honor, recognize and thank the men and women who are involved in those areas,” said Mauston coach Roland Lehman. “Those services often go unnoticed unless we need them and we just wanted to say thank you.”
The event takes place two days prior to the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. It also comes during a tumultuous time for law enforcement throughout the country.
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“Those men and women do an outstanding job and put their lives on the line. They don’t do it for the honor and the glory, they do it because they love their work and want to protect the men and women in their community,” Lehman said. “They don’t make a ton of money doing those jobs and, unfortunately, in the media sometimes, they only get noticed if they do something wrong. Many times they don’t get recognized for a job well done.”
Lehman is hoping to make the honorary night an annual event the Friday before Sept. 11. Not only will it honor military personnel, it will also teach children the importance of law enforcement and rescue workers.
Lehman said many rescue workers lost their lives trying to save others on that fateful day in 2001. Current high school students have little to no memory recognition of the 9/11 attacks.
“They are here to help and protect us and we can help build a better relationship with law enforcement and our teenagers and develop a level of trust and understanding,” Lehman said. “We think that’s really important and will help our community.”
The Sept. 9 game will also be the first of the season for senior Ian Donaldson. Lehman said Donaldson just completed basic training in the military.
“It’s an opportunity to thank him for the service he’s already providing and will in the future,” Lehman said.
The night will also feature a 50/50 raffle drawing with proceeds going to the Wisconsin Injured Law Enforcement Officers Resource Council.
“We thought we could help support that because it’s a group that supports officers during their medical and legal needs,” Lehman said. “And Marshall is also planning to bring a good crowd. They are a class act and they’ve invited their fans to participate as well. We’re hoping it becomes a neat community event. We’re hoping the community comes out and really supports the people we are honoring.”
Follow Kevin Damask on Twitter @kdamask