Special 'homecoming' for a soldier at Belfry football game

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By Hillary Thornton | 

BELFRY, Ky. (WYMT) - You often hear the saying it is more than a game. Friday night in pond creek that statement is true for one Belfry family, even if they lose it will be a special night for Belfry Pirate Austin Gibbs.

Already set to be a big night at Cam Stadium with a match-up between two undefeated teams in Belfry and Johnson Central...it is also parents night and the ceremony is extra special for one father and son.

40-year-old, Dennis 'Whitey' Gibbs, is a longtime pirates fan...missing few games since he graduated in 1991 which is remarkable in itself but even more so considering he has been in the U.S. Army for the past 22 years.

"I've made every game since 2010, driving from Fort Bragg and now Fort Knox, every game I've made," says Gibbs.

Driving from wherever he was stationed to both home and away games, the pirates hold an even bigger place in Gibbs' heart now that his son Austin also wears the Belfry uniform.

Gibbs' mom, Gail Gibbs says, recalls a few years ago when her son asked her a favor, "He said, I want him to start at Belfry for the tradition of Gibbs football....what a feeling it is to be a Belfry Pirate so I want him to start and graduate just like I did. So please do me a favor and keep him for me until I get there."

"It is just what we do here, no matter how far away you are you are still a pirate and you do what you gotta do to get here," explains Gibbs.

Friday is a special night as parents night, but it also marks the day 'Whitey' Gibbs got out of the army, making his last drive from Fort Knox to Pond Creek for Friday night lights.

Austin Gibbs says, "I get to stand out there on the field and have him introduced and he is here for good so I'm really happy about that."

"Communities like this make what I've done the past 20 years worth it," says 'Whitey' Gibbs.

Now this soldier, Belfry pirate, and most importantly Austin's dad is back home in Pike County for good.

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