Sailor Salute Returns, honoring former & Active Duty Military, Veterans, & 1st Responders

Written by
Jeff Corrion

MUSKEGON, Mich., August 22, 2017 – It’s High School football season. Rockford and Mona Shores High School - two highly-touted teams with championship expectations – each open their seasons at Michigan Stadium as a part of the annual “Battle at the Big House” event. Two weeks later - on Friday, September 8, 2017 - the gridiron giants will square off at Mona Shores High School at 7:00 pm.

But this is more than a football game.

Over the past few years, the Mona Shores football program has dedicated an evening to bring awareness to our military, police, fire, and emergency responders as a way of giving back. In 2016, the event drew national attention and this year’s event looks to build upon its success.

This year the celebration is bigger, better and even more significant!

The evening serves three purposes and will have a great deal of activity going on for everyone.

First, the event is meant to HONOR those who serve or have served our country in the military, in our police and fire departments, or as an emergency responder.

Second, the event is meant to EDUCATE our community on issues and needs that exist within these areas of service and remind those in attendance of the freedoms we enjoy.

Finally, the event is meant to CONNECT all of these branches of service with our community. As part of our great and proud Muskegon community, Mona Shores simply wants to celebrate such service.

During the event, donations will be collected for the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

Lots of activities will be part of the “Sailor Salute”:

Prior to the game, gates to Sailor Stadium will open at 4:30 PM and all people are welcome to walk around the facility to explore and get pictures with a variety of military and emergency responder vehicles.

From 3 - 6 pm, Bill Simonson of The Huge Show on 107.3 WBBL will be broadcasting live from Mona Shores High School. Beginning at 6 pm, 98.3 WLCS will carry the game with Jon Russell and Cal Van Sigle on the call. (Various Grand Rapids television outlets will be on site throughout the day.)

Around 6:15 pm, roughly 400 members of various motorcycle groups who support veterans, will parade into the football facility from the south end of the stadium and set their bikes up around the perimeter of the track.

At 6:45 pm, hundreds of elementary students will take the field to lead the crowd in reciting of our “Pledge of Allegiance”. Immediately following, these youngsters will accompany the award-winning Sailor Marching Band in the singing of our “National Anthem”. Then, “The Hooligan Flight Team” will make a number of passes over Sailor Stadium.

As typical with Mona Shores home football games, there will be a “Hometown Hero” recognized. This year, represented by his family, the event will recognize and remember Army 1st Class Sergeant Dan Scheibner (Shores Class of 1986) - who, ten years ago (in August, 2007), was killed in action in Iraq. This will be an extremely emotional, yet memorable celebration of life and service.

At 7:00 pm the football game between state-ranked Rockford and Mona Shores will commence.

Game tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students. ALL current and former military, police, fire, and emergency responders are granted free admission if they are in uniform or have representative dress of servitude.

Between the First and Second Quarter, a number of Rockford and Mona Shores community members will take the “Future Soldier Oath” in the north end zone. Between the Third and Fourth Quarter, cheerleaders from both Rockford and Mona Shores will lead the stadium in knocking out 22 pushups in observance of the “ Pushup Challenge” - an activity that brings awareness to the fact that 22 veterans commit suicide daily.

Members of the public – young, old, affiliated with Mona Shores or not – are welcome to take part in all activities. All information can be found on the Facebook Event Page (Sailor Salute).

“Over the years, Mona Shores has hosted some incredibly large, fun, and interactive events at Sailor Stadium,” Director of Athletics Ryan Portenga exclaims. “Already, we expect to draw thousands for a quality football game between two state powerhouse gridiron programs. Yet, there is much more than a football game being played.

“At Mona Shores, our objective is to bring our community together on Friday nights, regardless of what takes place on the field. Hosting an event like our ‘Sailor Salute’ is simply another way of celebrating all that is right and good throughout our school community, county, and country as well as recognizing the people who help make such things possible.”