UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ) — American flags are a common site at college football games. But last week, a rain-soaked flag at Beaver Stadium was extra special.
“You know, military families go through a lot every year,” said Dvon Ellies, a redshirt junior defensive tackle.
On Military Appreciation Day, Ellies lead the Nittany Lions on the field and presented the flag to his father, retired Sergeant 1st Class Sean Thomas.
“My father sacrificed so much for us,” said Ellies. “So, it’s just it’ll be like a really cool thing to kind of flag out to and show our appreciation for.”
“My heart was pounding,” said Thomas, moments after leaving the field. “Being a parent in the stands a little different, but being on the field, being honored by him, getting issued the flag, is this amazing.
Thomas served in the US Army for 25 years. He made sacrifices not only for his country, but also for his family. While Dvon was in high school, Sean was relocated to Death Valley, California and insisted his family stay behind in Maryland where they had better opportunities.
“Obviously, what I have to do, what I want to do, I want to make sure you have the best opportunity,” said Thomas. “And maybe as a parent, if that was my primary role for my kids, make sure there was okay. So I want to make sure that you had all the all of everything that’s available to him, and the best opportunities.:
From across the country the two bonded over their love for football.
“That’s what the game did for us is really brought us together,” said Thomas.
Their bond over football made this moment on a rainy Saturday in Happy Valley the more special.
“It was a proud moment, because he endured a lot,” said Thomas. “Not necessarily by me is about him was how much he he’d been endured with me being going a lot. And how his mom really took a lot of the helm and raised him the fact that I was going so, so long. So it was the fact that he’s here. became an amazing young man could just see him. You know, that appreciation?”
“I will always forever appreciate my father for that just because I don’t know if I would be here if we had to make that change,” said Ellies. “Like he sacrificed his time and everything else pretty much so that we can succeed in what we’re doing. I think this is just I think for him this is like well-deserved. You know, it’s a testament to all his work.”