Members of the Riverhead school community gathered on the football field Saturday to honor Tech. Sgt. Dashan Briggs by retiring his football uniform number 22.
Briggs, 30, perished in a military helicopter crash in western Iraq March 15.
Riverhead School Superintendent Dr. Aurelia Henriquez called the fallen airman a “hometown hero” whose “name will live on forever in Riverhead.”
An image of a blue football jersey bearing the number 22 and Briggs’ name has been installed uniform above the sports box on the football field.
“His life story will be told again and again to the students of the Riverhead Central School District,” Henriquez said.
“Tech. Sgt. Dashan Briggs’ determination, self-discipline and perseverance will serve as a reminder to us all of what is possible if we work hard to attain our goals and dreams,” Henriquez said.
Head football coach Leif Shay said Briggs was “one of the greatest kids I ever got to work with.”
Briggs “had a determination and desire to succeed and make something of himself and he wore that on his face, in his chiseled jawline, and every now and them he would break into a smile,” Shay said. “And when he smiled, the whole world smiled with him.”
Briggs’ widow, Rebecca, their two young children, Jayden and Ava, his grandfather and other family members and friends were on hand for the pre-game ceremony on the soggy field today.
“He would have been really honored,” his wife said. “He talked a lot about playing football here. Whenever he got together with his buddies, they told lots of stories.” Rebecca Briggs said she knew them all by heart from hearing them so often.
“Dashan loved Riverhead. He loved playing football here,” Rebecca Briggs said. He was a member of the Class of 2007. “I know he’s looking down on this smiling.”
The school presented his family with the team’s last two football jerseys bearing the number 22.