On Friday, Branden Ramey's family struggled through the eight month anniversary of his death in Iraq, but on Saturday, Ramey's life as a football player took center stage, celebrated by fans and teammates of the Roscoe rush.
Ramey's number 17 jersey is now forever retired after a special halftime ceremony with family and teammates at Saturday's rush game.
Before leaving for Iraq, Ramey played for the rush in 2003, when the team strapped on its pads in Belvidere. Similar to his life in the Marines, Ramey defined the selfless teammate while on the rush, filling in as a punter, halfback and tailback.
For owner Brian Kelly, Saturday's ceremony carried out a special promise made by Ramey before he left for the Middle East.
"Before he left for Iraq he told me not to give up his number 17. I kept my word to him that we weren't going to give it up and have his number 17. Obviously, due to unfortunate circumstances and the things that happened, I'm retiring his jersey, so as long as the rush is around, no one will have number 17," rush owner Brian Kelly said.
"What makes it especially nice is it's not just Belvidere that remembers him, it's also Roscoe here today. Roscoe people our honoring him and what he sacrificed," Ramey's mother Pam Trevino said.
Teammates say beyond Ramey's sacrifice, the ceremony also honored all the nation's servicemen and women. Whose defense of freedom makes all the rush games possible.