Rangers FC and Foundation Team Up with US Military Charity for Remembrance Activity
Tue 8th November 2022
Two families of fallen US and British military heroes will meet and share their experiences before attending the Rangers v Hearts game at Ibrox on 9th November as part of a UK Football-first pilot programme supporting military families.
Rangers will mark Remembrance Day at this match with a range of activities, including a minute’s silence, a can collection for Poppyscotland, a piece in the matchday programme and special poppy embroidered shirts for the players. For the first time, the Remembrance game will also include a meeting between families from the US and Scotland who have lost family members who served in their respective armed forces.
American military charity Tragedy Assistance Programme for Survivors (TAPS) approached Rangers to work on this ground-breaking pilot initiative to bring the families together to share their experiences.
TAPS works extensively in the USA in association with the NFL, NBA, and MLB and the Rangers Charity Foundation has become the first UK-based sports partner of the charity. They work in partnership with SSAFA, The Armed Forces Charity and Families’ Activity Breaks (FAB) in the UK. TAPS provides compassionate care and resources for all those grieving the death of loved one who was a veteran or serving in the military. TAPS have arranged for the US-based Frison family to visit the UK from the United States to spend 5 days with the Savage family in Scotland.
Neither of the children of the guest families had the chance to get to know their fathers – one was six months old when he died and the other was yet to be born at the time his father died.
The families will spend time together and will be part of the Remembrance wreath laying ceremony at Ibrox prior to the game. The children will also be mascots for the game and will go out onto the pitch with the players.
United States Army First Lieutenant Demetrius M. Frison was killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2011 and will be honoured by his wife Mikki and son Christopher at the match.
First Lieutenant Frison, who had been serving with the 3rd Infantry Brigade, has many awards and decorations including the Parachutist badge, National Defense Service medal, Global War on Terror Service medal, Army Service ribbon and the Army Commendation medal. He was also posthumously awarded both a Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
He loved cheering on local sports teams, especially the Philadelphia Eagles, and his son Chris is now an avid football fan and player in his school and community teams. Football has given Chris an outlet for days when he is feeling low and missing the presence of his father. Chris also loves to play FIFA and two of his favourite players are Malik Tillman and Ryan Kent.
Joining the Frisons will be Lynzy and Connor Savage, wife and son of the late Corporal William Savage who was killed on patrol in Afghanistan in 2013 when Lynzy was expecting Connor.
Corporal Savage was part of The Royal Highland Fusiliers 2nd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland. He deployed to Iraq on Operation Telic in 2004 as well as to Afghanistan 3 times.
It was on a deployment to Afghanistan in March 2013 that Corporal Savage was killed with Fusilier Samuel Flint and Private Robert Hetherington when their armoured vehicle hit an improvised explosive device on a routine patrol in Helmand province.
Corporal Savage, who was known as Sav to his friends and family, was a keen sportsman who enjoyed the outdoors, loved skiing and was a talented kayak instructor.
Diana Hosford, Vice President, Sports & Entertainment for TAPS commented: “TAPS is incredibly grateful to Rangers FC and the Rangers Charity Foundation for the opportunity to honour fallen military service members and recognise their surviving families. Rangers FC is the first international club to honour the fallen and their families with TAPS. The surviving military families from the United States and Scotland will have the opportunity to celebrate the life and service of their loved ones at this special fixture.”
Connal Cochrane, Chief Executive of the Rangers Charity Foundation added: “The Foundation has a long and proud history of supporting Armed Forces charities, personnel and veterans. We are delighted on behalf of the Rangers Family to be able to help facilitate this visit and hope that it creates special and healing memories for the Frison and Savage families.”