ROSSFORD, OH (WTOL) - A local soldier killed in action and NFL star Cardale Jones. The football star will lace up for Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns with the fallen soldier's name emblazoned on his cleats.
It's because of the NFL program "My cause, My cleats" which allows players to support a charity or organization raising money and awareness.
"I wish none of this would have ever happened because that would mean he was still here and I'd much rather have that," said Don Belkofer, Thomas' dad.
Don Belkofer is still grieving the death of his son Lt. Col. Thomas Belkofer. He served in the Army for 18 years and had served all over. But it was in May of 2010 when he was in Afghanistan, being briefed for only a week, when his service and life would end.
"I think it was the second or third day (that he was there) that the suicide bomber hit their convoy and killed him," explained Sharon Belkofer, his mother.
His legacy is strong. He's been honored by former President Barack Obama, had highways renamed in his honor and more.
Don and Sharon got a call Friday morning from Rossford Schools, where Sharon is on the board of education and where Thomas graduated high school.
They explained to the Gold Star family what Cardale Jones was doing for the "my cause, my cleats" campaign.
Jones, a former Ohio State quarterback and current San Diego Charger, will sport his customized cleats this Sunday reading their son's name and honoring Fallen 15. That's a non-profit charity that remembers military members who made the ultimate sacrifice.
They were shocked, proud and know Tom would be honored that the National Championship Buckeye is displaying his name. LTC Belkofer was the biggest Buckeye fan, even watching their games while overseas in different time zones.
"If he were here he would have thought this was really the ultimate honor or recognition for Cardale to do that," said Sharon. "Cardale is a fine young man and we both appreciate him for what he's done and what he is doing, but Tom would just, he'd be ecstatic!"
Sharon thanked the NFL star on Facebook for his support of her son and Fallen 15. The Belkofer's said they may have to turn on the Charger game this Sunday now.
"We sure would want to watch that game, that's for sure we'll become Charger fans," Sharon joked.
You too can catch the game and Cardale's shoes honoring LTC Thomas Belkofer on WTOL 11 this Sunday just after 4:00 p.m. when they play the Cleveland Browns.
The Belkofer's said while it's a huge honor to have the former Buckeye pay respects to their son, they say Tom would want to remind others to remember those who went before and after him due to their service.