WUFT News

Fallen Army Veteran Lives On Through Keystone Heights Football Team

By on September 6th, 2013
Army Sgt. Dick Alson Lee hasn't played for Keystone Heights' high school football team since 2000, but a current player is honoring his jersey number.

Photo provided by Joseph Sayers

Army Sgt. Dick Alson Lee hasn't played for Keystone Heights' high school football team since 2000, but a current player is honoring his jersey number.

The bright white lights shined down on the honored No. 4 as the Keystone Heights High School Indians faced off against the West Nassau High School Warriors on Aug. 30′s Friday night football game.

This is the first season Army Sgt. Dick Alson Lee’s jersey number can be seen on the field since it was retired after his death last year. He graduated from the school in 2000.

His mother, Brenda Carroll, attended the Aug. 30 game to present the jersey to Brighton Gibbs, a KHHS junior, who she said embodies characteristics of Lee.

“He’s a very well spoken young man, very well mannered. I don’t think they could have picked a better person,” said Carroll, 51.

Joseph Sayers said Lee, his best friend, lived and breathed KHHS football. He said high school football is everything to a small town, and it was everything to Lee. He watched hours of game film on other teams.

“He could tell you the size of the players, their numbers, their names, what play they were in, when they lined up,” Sayers said. “He was extremely dedicated.”

When his Humvee ran over an improvised explosive device in the Ghazni providence of Afghanistan in April of 2012, the community considered naming the high school’s football field after him. It resolved to present his jersey number to a player on the team who possessed similar qualities as Lee.

An elementary school field was named after a local Vietnam veteran who was also killed in combat. It’s a big deal when something like this happens in such a small town, Sayers said.

“It’s kind of a legacy for the town,” said Dakota Wiley, a senior at KHHS. ”It’s a big effect because everyone knew him, he died in combat serving our country, and he gave everything he had to protect his town, his country.”

Wiley has wanted to join the U.S. Army since he was 8 years old. He wore dog tags to Friday’s game and plans to enlist after high school.

Lee left behind a young family — his wife, Katherine, and sons, David and Joshua.

Contributed photo / WUFT News

Lee left behind a young family — his wife, Katherine, and sons, David and Joshua.

Lee was also interested in serving since he was young. One night, his mother remembers, her husband woke up and didn’t find Lee in his bed. He and his friend went out and dug a foxhole in the backyard. They were “playing army.”

Carroll said he was extremely dedicated, responsible, kind-hearted and would do anything to brighten someone’s day.

One of the men Lee served with wrote her a letter, in which, he told her he realized Lee played a huge role in making him into the man he became. He went on to thank her for making Lee into the man he was.

“Apparently, one of his friends passed over there, and it was Alson who helped him through it,” Carroll said.

The jersey will be worn by Gibbs for the remainder of the season in Lee’s honor.


This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Local

Evergreen sign

Gainesville Cemetery Recognized as Historical Landmark

Gainesville’s Evergreen Cemetery, which has been active for 158 years and houses more than 10,000 graves, received the State of Florida Historical Marker on April 12.


April 18, 2014: Afternoon News in 90

A video roundup of local, state and national stories for readers in North Central Florida.


Alachua Tax Collector Von Fraser Dies at 76

Von Fraser, who has served as Alachua County’s Tax Collector for 33 years, died early Thursday morning at the age of 76.


Blueberries continue to adapt and thrive in Florida fields, and as a result new jobs are popping up around the state.

Blueberry Industry Brings Blossoming Job Opportunities

An increase in harvests of Florida blueberries helps economy in North Central Florida.


Concerns Raised About Corporal Punishment in North Central Florida Schools

Suwannee County School District has the highest number of corporal punishment incidents in Florida for the 2011-12 school year. Founder of Floridians Against Corporal Punishment in Public School has made Suwannee County the next goal of his civil rights campaign.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments