By Jeff Harrison
The Mid-Del area has a proud history of military service.
Local high schools will pay tribute to that legacy of honor and sacrifice this Friday night during the Midwest City vs. Del City football game at Rose Field.
The rivalry game will serve as Military Appreciation Night and will benefit the Warriors for Freedom Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports veterans and service members.
Warriors for Freedom helps service members, veterans and their families reconnect with their community and provide peer to peer support and camaraderie. The football game will include tributes to local men and women in uniform and veterans. Players will be wearing special jerseys honoring fallen heroes from each school. Del City will honor Robert Kalsu and Midwest City will honor Lance Chase.
“I think it’s very important for our kids to learn about history and who these two men were,” said Andy Collier, Mid-Del director of student activities. “They are Del City and Midwest City graduates who gave the ultimate sacrifice. We put athletes on a pedestal and these kids need to know who the real heroes are.”
Kalsu was a former University of Oklahoma and NFL player who was killed in the Vietnam War. Following an impressive rookie season with the Buffalo Bills, the Del City native joined the U.S. Army to satisfy his Reserve Officer Training Corps obligation. He was killed in action on July 21, 1970, when his unit came under enemy mortar fire at FSB Ripcord near the A Shau Valley.
Kalsu and his wife had two children. His youngest son was born two days after his death.
The Del City High School football stadium and Del City Post Office are named for him.
Midwest City will be in honor of Chase, a 1991 MCHS graduate, who was killed in action during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Army Staff Sgt. died on Jan. 23, 2006 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his M1A2 Abrams tank during patrol operations in Baghdad.
Chase and his wife had two sons.
Family of Kalsu and Chase will serve as honorary captains for the coin toss.
Junior ROTC students from both schools will be running the game ball to the stadium. Del City students will run the ball from Del City High School to Midwest City High School. There, Midwest City students will run the ball to Rose Field.
The Jeff Rogers and Rogers Family Foundation and Hudiburg Auto Group sponsored the jerseys for Del City and Midwest City, respectively.
Collier said he’d like to make the military appreciation game a tradition for the two schools.
“This is a way to continue to remind how special Mid-Del is,” he said.
Pre-game activities will begin at 6:30 p.m. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.