Football Players Bear Soldiers' Names on Jerseys

By: Katie Kim Email
By: Katie Kim Email

These football players from Grand Ledge High aren't just sporting their school colors. Each player proudly beared the name of a Mid-Michigan soldier who died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. It's a responsibility that the team isn't taking lightly.

"We're taking it pretty serious because it's close to home," says senior Vincent Cook.

Cook is representing Spc. Bradley Rappuhn, a 2004 Grand Ledge High School graduate who was killed in Afghanistan just last month.

"He gave the ultimate sacrifice, the least we can do is have a heck of a game out there," Cook says.

Fellow senior Zachary Hess also wore the name of Grand Ledge fallen soldier.

"I am bearing Jason Plite's name," Hess says. "He was a senior airman in the Air Force."

Plite was also the first Michigan serviceman who lost his life in the war on terror.

"I know Coach Bird chose me to wear Jason's name because I had a lot of things in common with him," Hess says. "He was in the music program. I'm in the music program. He was a good student, and i am too. It's just a real honor to wear his name."

"Anytime our loved ones are remembered, it means a great deal," says Dawn Peterson, the mother of Jason Plite.

Peterson says, seven years later, the community support still continues to amaze her.

"I think this is a great way for these young men on the field to carry on in their memory," Peterson says. "I know Jason would be very proud."

"Our coach told us if there's any game where we should work our butt off, it should be this one," Cook says. "These men gave their lives for us, our community, our state, our country."

Here's a list of all the service men and women with ties to Michigan who have died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars: is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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