NEW SHARON, Iowa -- Friday night football took on a new meaning for the North Mahaska High School community.
"I don't know maybe this will kind of help it sink in and help us move on," Sara Hicklin said.
In August, tragedy hit hard for Sara and Aaron Hicklin. "Half of your family gone ya know," said Sara, referring to her three sons.16-year-old Jaimie, 13-year-old Carson and 10-year-old Christian were killed in a car wreck at an uncontrolled intersection. Something Sara said she wishes were just a bad dream. "At this point I still keep hoping that their going to come through the door, but I know that's not going to happen."
Jamie was a member of the North Mahaska football team. While he may be physically removed, the team has found a way to keep him on the field at all times. Principal Doug Ray said, "Jaimie's locker will stay closed for the year with his practice gear in there and also they are wearing the number six to honor him for the entire year."
The fans, students and teachers have also pitched in. Showing strength and unity as one for all three brothers by purchasing t-shirts with the phrase "Warhawk Strong." Sara said, "The color orange was pretty special. It was my youngest son Christian's favorite color." Principal Ray added, "He always liked to wear it in the hallways. It was just bright and cheerful, just like he was.
The overwhelming support has gone well beyond Mahaska County. Numerous celebrities with Iowa ties such as NBA stars Harrison Barnes and Kyle Korver have donated memorabilia for an auction raising money to help the family. "The Warhawk strong is us uniting together as a community and as a school district."
Friday nights in the fall have always proved community and school pride runs deep in the state of Iowa, but for the Hicklin's and those affiliated with Mahaska County, this football season has already shown something wins could never measure.
"We are still having pains but we are doing it together as one and that's what it means to be Warhawk strong. They are hear for us and it's not something they just say they mean it," said Sara.