ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Two years ago, Kirk Catherwood's son Alec lost his life while fighting for his country in Afghanistan. Today, Kirk is giving away his son's dog tags to two young men so his memory lives on.
"Because it means a lot to us that they carry on and remember him, and the sacrifice he made, and maybe they will make sacrifices and do good things for other people as well," said Kirk Catherwood.
Austin Barnhart met with Marine Lance Cpl. Alec E. Catherwood's family at a ceremony hosted by the Rockford Lutheran High School football team, and proudly accepted their loved one's dog tags.
"I try, I've been working hard every practice, and been putting the effort in, trying to sacrifice my time," said Barnhart. "And I know that I'll never be able to reach the kind of sacrifice they put for our country."
In its first year of the program, the football coaches chose four top players on the team to receive the dog tags of fallen soldiers. Players are told to keep the dog tags with them at all times to remember the ultimate sacrifice others have made.
"It's around them, and we wanted to make sure they were aware and cognizant of honoring these people with the courage that they've shown. The commitment they've shown," said football coach Bruce Bazsali. "We want our kids to do the same."
Kirk Catherwood said he hopes he can be mentor for the two young men honoring his son's life.
This is the first time the football team has held the dog tag ceremony. Coaches hope to make it an annual event.