Mountain View Football Team Honors Fallen American Soldiers On Helmets

in Wyoming Life/News

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily 

At Mountain View High School in southwest Wyoming, football is a big deal. The Mountain View Buffaloes have been state champions two out of the last five years, and the 33 players on the team pride themselves on doing the right thing on – and off – the field. 

That’s according to Brent Walk, who is in his 11th year as head coach of the 2A football program. Part of doing the right thing, according to Coach Walk, is honoring soldiers who have lost their lives in service to their country. 

Mountain View participates in the “Heroes On Helmets” program, in which students display an American flag on their football helmets that represents a U.S. soldier who never came home. 

“Not only is it an American flag, which is incredible to have on our helmets, but every one of these stickers has a description of a fallen soldier,” Walk told Cowboy State Daily, “somebody that paid the ultimate price. Their name, their rank, what military branch they were in and then actually the day that they died is on every single flag.” 

Honoring the Fallen 

The “Heroes On Helmets” program is the brainchild of Dave Lindsay, a veteran who – almost accidentally – landed the job as a football coach in Montpelier, Idaho, for a middle school that hadn’t fielded a team in 13 years. 

“I put in for (the coaching job), and in my interview, they asked if I ever coached football, and I was like, ‘No,’ but I certainly spent my time as an instructor (in the military),” Lindsay told Cowboy State Daily. “They hired me anyway.”  

In 2015, his first year as the middle school coach, Lindsay had the idea to put the name of fallen American soldiers on flag stickers for his athletes to wear on their helmets. 

“I wanted those kids to know that they have opportunities that have been bought and paid for by other people,” Lindsay said. “That no matter how hard they try for the rest of their life, they’re never going to get an opportunity to meet them – unless they go to Arlington National Cemetery.” 

Because of his experience in the military, and the personal losses he experienced there, he wanted to make sure that those who died in the service would not be forgotten. 

“(These students) have an opportunity to basically make a name live again,” Lindsay said, “by honoring somebody else in the way they choose to live their life, both on and off the field.” 

Once word began to spread about the flag program at Bear Lake Middle School, a television news crew from Salt Lake City featured the team and the program. Since then, Lindsay said dozens of schools from 14 different states have become a part of “Heroes On Helmets.” 

Families Touched By the Program 

Lindsay said that once word began to spread about “Heroes On Helmets,” families of the fallen soldiers started reaching out to the athletes who wear their soldier’s flag. 

“I had one kid, his hero’s family flew him out to Little creek, Virginia, one year for Christmas,” Lindsay said.  

Another soldier’s mother contacted Lindsay to say that the student who wears her son’s flag bears a striking resemblance to her young man. 

“They are in the same things,” she told Lindsay. “They’re both in football, baseball, and they’re in FFA. And she gave (the student) her son’s football jersey, and has had a relationship with the family ever since.” 

Mountain View Students Honor Soldiers 

Walk said that he challenges each of his athletes to research the soldier whose flag they wear. 

“(These soldiers) paid the ultimate price for us to live in this incredible country,” Walk said. “And on a very small scale, that gives us the opportunity to play football.” 

Walk said his students don’t hesitate to put the flags on their helmets and search up information about the soldier they represent. 

“Obviously it means something different to each kid,” he said, “but you can tell the kids take it serious.”  

Beyond Athletics 

Lindsay said that the school in Soda Springs, Idaho wanted to expand “Heroes On Helmets” beyond the football team. 

“They’re like, ‘We don’t think this should be just a sports thing,’” Lindsay said. “‘This is a American thing.’” 

He said the school purchased flag stickers for all the students to put on their lockers, and teachers encourage them to research their soldier. 

“If they’re in history class, and they have to do a research paper, or if they’re in language arts, and they have to write a poem or whatever, they already have a subject matter to write about,” Lindsay said.  

More Than Just Football 

Walk pointed out that as the head football coach, his goal is to teach his athletes more than just how to win football games. 

“The most important thing is that kids understand and believe that Mountain View football is a heck of a lot bigger than 48 minutes on Friday,” he said. “Yeah, we want to win football games, and winning state championships and all that kind of stuff is absolutely amazing. But high school football can be an opportunity for kids to learn and get a better understanding of what their future could be.” 

Walk said that the “Heroes On Helmets” program is one of the most rewarding efforts he’s been involved with in his 30 years of teaching. 

“It’s very, very special,” he said. “And I think it’d be very cool if every team in the state wore them.” 

Lindsay said that sadly, there is no shortage of soldiers to be honored. 

“There’s no reason that all of our nation’s fallen, literally from the country’s Inception to now, couldn’t be honored one hundred times over,” said Lindsay. 

https://heroesonhelmets.com/mission
Dave Lindsay, Lindsay Tactical
(512) 577-9470

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