Benton High School took time at its football game against Pinckneyville Friday night to pay homage to veterans with a special nod to its own hometown hero, Brandon Pinson.
Pinson was killed nearly two weeks ago in Iraq.
Pinson was working as a civilian employee with the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD), leading a team specialists charged with clearing improvised explosive devices left behind from battles with the Islamic State.
According to a news release from FSD, Pinson was defusing an explosive device near the village of Tel al-Shear near Mosul when the accident happened.
The FSD is a humanitarian organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. Its mission is to clear explosives that threaten civilian populations in countries affected by war.
The 31-year-old Pinson was a veteran of the U.S. Army, serving from 2008 until 2018. He was a 2006 graduate of BHS, were he was co-captain of the football team.
His success on the gridiron led to his being named as one of two most valuable players his senior year. He also earned honors from the Southern Illinois River-to-River Conference, being named all-conference on both offense and defense his senior year.
He was due to complete his work within the month and return home to his wife and two children who reside in Cherry Point, N.C.
In the game, the 52 points the Rangers scored against Pinckneyville matched Pinson's uniform number. It was a team goal, but still had to be executed.