NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa. –
Tim Kosky, modernization project manager at Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Susquehanna Pennsylvania and retired Marine, has been conducting a homegrown mentorship for the local Dover High School football team for the past four years. This year, he introduced a slight change to the normal activities.
“I wanted to teach the kids that they are playing for something larger than a Friday night game. For something larger than themselves,” said Kosky.
Kosky, who has a son on the team this year, has held a tradition for the past four years of hosting a game night dinner on Thursday night. At that dinner Kosky talks with team captains and seniors on the team about the importance of teamwork and leadership through reinforcement and positivity.
Previously the team had a tradition of using carabiners linked together as an analogy about a chain being as strong as the weakest link. The coaches proposed a change this year, acknowledging the service of Kosky. They proposed dog tags instead of the traditional carabiner approach.
The dog tags carry the name of the players, and have the names of veterans who were killed in action. These KIA names are all tied to the local area in some way. Players wear the dog tags every day and especially on Friday, at school, wearing their game day jerseys.
After the National Anthem is played at the game that evening players hang the tags, in remembrance of those service members, on a bronze eagle on the sideline.
“I was introduced to a local Army recruiter in getting the tags printed,” said Kosky. The recruiter is also an alumni of Dover High School.
For Kosky, retired Marine Corps Master Sgt., mentoring the team is how he has found purpose beyond his military career. Mentoring young boys through a transitional time where they are expected to become young men has allowed Kosky to continue living and teaching the values and lessons learned from his years of service.
“These kids are playing for families that can’t experience that game the same way other families can. Some other high school athletes may be playing without a parent in attendance because their name is on one of the dog tags being worn by a Dover High School football player,” said Kosky.
The players of the Dover High School football team will be wearing the dog tags and honoring those KIA service members throughout the season.