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Military 'hero' honored at Army All-American Bowl 2010
JHNS | January 13, 2010 at 11:08 amby
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By Rich Lamance
But Bruch, daughter of Mike and Nancy Lancaster, Dalrock Road, Rowlett, found herself in just that role recently when she was announced at midfield during high school football’s biggest contest – the U.S. Army sponsored All-American Bowl.
Bruch was honored as a soldier-hero, one of more than 90 throughout the Army who had been awarded either the Silver Star, Bronze Star or Purple Heart during deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. The soldier-heroes were each matched with an all-star player before the kick off of the contest that pits the best players in the nation against each other in an East versus West matchup.
“I was selected for this honor because of my actions as a military police platoon leader in Baghdad back in 2005,” explained Bruch, a 2000 Garland High School graduate and a 2004 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md. “I’m uncomfortable with the term ‘hero,’ because I felt that I just did my job. But, I’m honored to be here and participate in this great event.”
During activities in the days leading up to game day, Bruch was involved with the players, as well as other soldier heroes in events such as a skills competition, a barbeque and a banquet held in their honor.
“I was really impressed with the maturity of the young football players,” said Bruch. “They displayed such composure and flexibility during the hectic week before the game. I also enjoyed the interaction between the players and the soldier-heroes. It’s a privilege to be a part of their development as they become mentors and ‘heroes’ themselves.”
Bruch says she believes that not only players, but young people overall, can benefit from serving their country, whether in the military or in projects close to where they live. “To me, service is a crucial aspect of personal development and, being a part of the Army challenges individuals to their full potential,” said Bruch. “In addition to personal growth, being a part of this respected organization helps foster a service ethic that gets passed down from generation to generation. The values that soldiers learn in the Army carry through to the rest of their lives and influence lives around them.”
Today, Bruch is an aide de camp to the commanding general of the 81st Regional Support Command at Fort Jackson in Columbia, S.C. She spent a year in Iraq patrolling main supply routes near Baghdad, responding to incidents in the area and helped train the young Iraqi Highway Patrol. She left active duty in 2007 and joined the Army Reserve.