APSU honors Fort Campbell Soldiers
January 24, 2007
Austin Peay State University hosted Operation Tribute to Freedom at the Dunn Center during Tuesday's basketball game with Ohio Valley Conference rival Murray State University.
Operation Tribute to Freedom is a Department of the Army community relations and outreach program designed to recognize and honor Soldiers. The program also gives Soldiers the opportunity in return to thank the American people for their support.
Fort Campbell Soldiers and family members who attended the game were given free admission with a valid military identification card.
"We are very proud to honor and thank our Soldiers who risk their lives day in and day out to secure our freedoms," said Brad Kirtley, APSU sports information director. "It is very significant for us to be able to do this considering the long-standing relationship between Austin Peay and Fort Campbell."
Prior to the start of the basketball game, all military personnel, veterans and family member in attendance, were recognized and they received a standing ovation from the appreciative crowd.
Colonel Jeffrey Colt, 159th Aviation Brigade commander, then joined APSU President Sherry Hoppe at mid-court to present her with a division coin and thank her for the support Soldiers receive from APSU. Following the coin presentation, the Fort Campbell color guard presented the colors for the playing of the national anthem by the APSU pep band.
"It was our pleasure to be here tonight," said Staff Sgt. Carlos Rosado-Mejia, division honor guard Soldier. "This is an honor to receive this recognition, and it's nice to participate in some of the local community activities. We'll probably stay and enjoy the game now."
Once the opening ceremonies concluded, the game between the Governors of Austin Peay and the Racers of Murray State began.
It was a game played in two very different halfs.
Murray State dominated the first half, leading by as much as 17 points. Austin Peay, however, battled their way back to pull within 10 points at 40-30 by halftime.
The second half was primarily controlled by Austin Peay. The Governors went on a 19-4 run early in the half to take their first lead of the game. The lead would still change hands six times after that, but in the end Austin Peay prevailed to earn the hard-fought 68-59 victory.
"This was a good night for basketball fans," said APSU fan Bill Adams after the game. "We got to show our appreciation to our military personnel before the game started, and we were then treated to a classic OVC match-up between Austin Peay and Murray State."