From the Bleachers – With Ron Mosher: Fall River school honors recent bombing victims – “The 13”
On August 26, over 100 people were killed in a bombing at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul Afghanistan. Among the dead were 13 American military personnel. The death of these soldiers stunned and saddened the American public, coming at a time that the countries longest war was coming to an end, and as gigantic airlift was moving people out of harm’s way as the Taliban moved back into power.
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Of the 13 soldiers who died that day, ten were members of the Marine Corp. Fellow Marine’s, whether on active duty or former members of the Corp now in civilian life, always mourn the loss of fellow Marine’s as if a member of their family had died.
That is true of former Marine Corporal Adam Westlake of Fall River Mills who served in Iraq.
Wanting to do something to honor the US service members killed in last month’s airport bombing in Afghanistan, Adam and Felisa Westlake, along with Fall River Jr/Sr high school secretary Terri Hubauer, came up with a way to honor “The 13” at Fall River’s first home football game last Friday night. The Bulldogs went on to sweep visiting Pierce, 14-0.
Adam and his wife Felisa approached Fall River Jr/Sr High School about doing something to honor the fallen American’s. The Westlake’s along with school secretary Terri Hubauer hatched plans for a way to honor ‘The 13′. The Westlake’s have ties to the Fall River Joint Unified School District with two sons who attend school within the district – Achilles (Eli) 14 and Davin 9.
At Fall River’s first home football game last Friday night, fans entered the home field bleachers to see 13 chairs placed in a line on the track, facing the stands. The thirteen chair line-up each contained a photo of one of the fallen, as well as a folded American Flag. These chairs remained throughout the night as a solemn reminder of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
Just prior to kickoff, music teacher Hugo Castro played taps, and eighth-grade student Grace Harris sang the National Anthem. The hometown Bulldogs went on to defeat visiting Pierce, 14-0.
As one fan attending the game put it, “We in the Intermountain area have always known how to show our patriotism… and Friday night was just one example of that patriotism.”
Those who paid the ultimate sacrifice that tragic August morning included:
- Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25
- Sgt. Nicole Gee, 23
- Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover, 31
- Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22
- Cpl. Daegan Page, 23
- Cpl. Humbarto Sanchez, 22
- Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza, 20
- Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz, 20
- Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, 20
- Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, 20
- Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollom, 20
- Navy Corpsman Maxton Soviak, 22
- Staff Sgt. Ryan G. Knauss, 23
Asked today why he and his wife wanted to do something to honor “The 13”, Adam – who served in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004 with the 1st Marines – told SCNS, “Those 13 were my brothers and sisters and I felt that is was my duty to make sure that they were honored the way any service member should be honored.”
“For me, I keep going back to the America I grow up in and the pride and love of our country that everyone had after Pearl Harbor and 9/11 attacks,” the former Marine went on to say; adding, “It’s important for us to remember those who have sacrificed everything.”
About Ron, from the man himself:
I began doing sports coverage since the days of Dennis Smith at the Intermountain News in Burney in the mid 1960s through the mid 1970s. I took a long break after moving to the Bay Area, where I had an eight year stint with the San Francisco Giants front office as accounting and data processing manager – so my life has pretty much revolved around balls – footballs, basketballs, soccer balls, volleyballs, softballs, baseballs and the kids who toss ’em, catch ’em and excel in sports.
I returned to the Intermountain area in the 1990s and restarted my sports life in the area by working for Donna and Walt Caldwell and their Mountain Echo newspaper, retiring a few years ago after 20-plus years chasing kids all over northern California covering their antics in playing games.
I have a love for all three of the Intermountain area schools, having attended Big Valley elementary through fourth grade, graduating from Burney elementary and then becoming a 4-year Fall River Bulldog, graduating in 1961… yep, I’m an old guy.
But, I’m an old guy who’s glad to be returning to the keyboard in following Intermountain Area sports and the kids who play ’em… remember: Find something round… you’ll have a ball!
Contact the editor: email@example.com
Trevor Montgomery, 50, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).
Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County-based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.
Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.
Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.