ALVARADO, Texas - Gold Star families were honored Friday night by Alvarado High School's baseball team in a pregame ceremony.
The team’s players have been honoring those families' fallen loved ones year round by wearing dog tags of fallen troops. For some players, it hit close to home.
It started with one set of dog tags and grew into a tremendous tribute to fallen soldiers. It's changed them and the families they honor.
The players have been wearing dog tags of the families' fallen soldiers every day. Those families were honored Friday night.
Shortstop Adam Oviedo started wearing his cousin's dog tags after Clayton Beauchamp was killed in Afghanistan.
"We know that some of the soldiers can be forgotten after their loss of life. This is a great way to tell those families that we remember them,” Oviedo said. “I think it’s really opening our eyes and realizing how blessed we are.”
Last year, everyone on the team started doing the same. Some didn't know the soldiers, but it's their way of never forgetting.
It hit home for their coach, Will Burnes. He came across the name of Army PFC Joe Robinson, a player he coached in Mineral Wells.
“We talk about our soldiers that we represent,” the coach said. “And we understand that they paid the ultimate sacrifice for us to be able to do what we do.”
Because high school baseball rules require players to take off the tags, they hang them in the dugout and put them back on after the game.
Families say their biggest wish is that their soldiers will never be forgotten.
A few months ago, the team signed a baseball and left it at Clayton Beauchamp's headstone. His father, Jack, shared the image on social media.
“I got responses from Afghanistan, from Iraq, from Yemen, Hawaii, Japan— literally all over the planet, coast to coast in the United States,” he said. “We got feedback from it. This team right here actually made Marines cry.”
The team also honored first responders everywhere.