Friday, October 13 was a night to remember, and remembrance at Laguna Hills High School. NG resident Nicole Cavaricci and Laguna Hills High School Football Booster club put together the second annual “Hawks Hail Our Heroes” game — dedicated to all First Responders, with special acknowledgement of our city’s adopted Darkhorse Marines.
Darkhorse Marines were an integral part of the event. USMC Major Josef Patterson, who as a junior officer led an infantry platoon in combat, organized a group of fellow veterans to assist the cheerleaders in the flag folding ceremony on the field before the game. “It’s important to handle the stars and stripes with proper respect,” he told us, “I’d be glad to help.” Assisting with the flag folding were veterans Daniel Fiaseau, Will Makaafi, and Zachary Stangle. (Zachary earned a Bronze Medal of Honor for his courage under fire during that deployment.)
Sgt Marcus Chischilly returned this year to give a second annual pre-game locker room speech to the team he loves to inspire. Marcus’ own numerous achievements, following the loss of his left leg in combat, set a remarkable example of resilience under fire, and his talks with the team leave lasting impressions.
Following his speech, the team was led onto the field, accompanied by veterans from all branches of service — a group which represented a variety of ethnicities and ages ranging from their late 20’s to more than 70 years of age. Major Josef Patterson rode a lead motorcycle at the head of this ceremonial march. On his motorcycle are painted 25 names of Darkhorse Marines killed in action,
Once the ceremonial events were concluded the veterans and their families, settled in to cheer the Hawks onto a 47-27 victory over Saddleback Valley Christian. Sitting with them were Trent Mason and Brad Feldman of the Brad Feldman Group —- who were sponsors for the burgers and hot dogs served to all the veterans in attendance that night.
The blending of our local high school event with some of the brave young men who have served our country, inspired both the athletes and the veterans.