Son accepts “Hometown Hero” award on behalf of his dad at Fort Frye football game

“It just feels good he’s still getting honored even though it’s been a couple of years.”
WTAP News @ 6
Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 8:06 PM EDT
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BEVERLY, OH. (WTAP) -

On Friday September 2nd... the Fort Frye football team honored two local veterans as the ‘home town heroes’ before the game.

Christian Friese accepted the honor on behalf of his dad, the late Billy Friese.

Christian Friese, a Freshman on the Fort Frye Football Team, stood in front of his family and community to accept the honor of ‘hometown hero’ on his father’s behalf.

His dad, the late Staff Sergeant Friese was killed on July 19, 2019, while serving on active duty in Kuwait.

This is a story Fort Frye football coaches know well and find deserving of their ‘hometown hero’ honor.

“We talked to the players about it and they were of course all about that…they were wanting Christian to lead us out of the tunnel and things like that. It was a big night for him and for our players,” explained Coach Eric Huck.

Coach Huck described Christian as a great kid, having all the qualities you’d want in a football player. He said it was important to recognize Christian, his dad, and his family. He had strong feelings as he watched Christian accept the award on his fathers behalf

“I was proud. Very proud. At the same time you have the sense of sadness that a kid so young doesn’t have his father anymore. So definitely two sides to that. But, very proud of him.”

When we asked Christian how it felt knowing his team thought of his father as a hometown hero, he shared his love for his team.

“We’re all just a really big family. I love every single person in that locker room. Especially the coaches. They’re really encouraging. I even had a talk with Coach Ross before the game.”

Staff Sergeant Friese also had a bridge dedicated in his honor on July 19, 2021. The bridge located on Interstate 77 North and Southbound near mile marker 164 was renamed U.S. Army SSG William “Billy” E. Friese Memorial Bridge.

The other veteran honored as ‘Hometown Hero’ was World War II vet Earl Schaad.