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First responders and service members to be honored at Bend High football game

(Update: Adding video, comments from Bend High organizer)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Bend High football players won't be the only ones receiving cheers Friday night.

Kevin Cooper is the activities coordinator and assistant football coach at Bend High, and a primary organizer of Bend High's "hero's game."

"Really love at Bend High being able to serve other communities, that is a big thing for our student body to see,” Cooper said.

He said all past or present servicemembers and first responders will receive free admission to the game, and be asked to stand and be recognized while there.

"During the game, they will be asked to stand, and our student body is ready to be fired up and honor them -- and we practiced our chants, and hopefully they sound good,” Cooper said. 

Cooper said he hopes the players can gain something from the experience.

"It's not all about them,” Cooper said, referring to the players. “I mean, it's a special thing to be playing under the lights on Friday night, and that we honor them every single time they are able to put on a helmet. But it's also important for those boys to see that it's important to honor other people that have given them the opportunity to do what they love."

Cooper said the annual game was initially started to honor police only, but over the years, especially from the pandemic, the school realized there are so many other heroes in the community, such as veterans, active duty members, firefighters, EMTs and medical professionals, who also  deserve recognition.

"We love to celebrate that,” Cooper said. “It's a fun community event, where people come together and celebrate and that's what Friday night lights are about." 

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Noah Chast

Noah Chast is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Noah here.



  1. Your heart is in the right place but where do you think all these people are going to be on Friday night? Definitely, 100%, NOT A FOOTBALL GAME! If they cared they would let them in every single game for free.

  2. Like a lot of things “American “ we overuse certain terms and symbols like heroes. Everyone gets a trophy. That’s how it works now. Patriots. Heroes, people doing their everyday day jobs are now heroes. I thank a veteran and grocery clerks and baggers when I can. One for serving the other for putting up with the crap of people who just don’t care.

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