Howe Bulldogs honored WWII veteran, Purple Heart recipient

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HOWE, Tex. (KXII)- In their final game of the season, the Howe Bulldogs will wear a Purple Heart decal on their helmets with LB Kirby's initials in the middle.

Howe head coach Bill Jehling wanted his team to think about the sacrifices Kirby made when he was their age.

"We're playing a football game tonight but there's a lot more to life than just a football game," said Jehling.

Jehling says he wants his team to put things in perspective when they honor the former US Army Corporal during their game Friday night.

"A lot of guys don't realize the generation of the World War II veterans, that they were 17,18,19 year old kids doing a lot more than what our 17,18,19 year old kids do today," said Jehling.

Kirby played for the Bulldogs in 1942, and a representative from the Howe chamber of commerce says the team didn't have a head coach that season because of the war, so Kirby and his team petitioned to coach themselves.

That season ended with a district championship.

Howe Development Alliance President Monte Walker says the chamber of commerce and Howe high school came together to honor their hometown hero LB Kirby by printing the Purple Heart decals for Friday's game.

"He was a great guy. I got to visit with him quite often, he had a lot of stories to tell and great stories to tell. He was quite the hero of this town," said Walker.

Along with a Purple Heart, Kirby was awarded seven bronze stars and two bronze Arrowheads.

Anna Anderson says she has known Kirby her entire life.

"He carried himself in a way that he was still in the military and he was kind and considerate at all times," said Anderson.

She says Kirby wanted to display his Purple Heart at the bank where she works because he wanted people to be able to see what one looked like.

"We have had people from miles away come here to the bank to see his medals," said Anderson.