Sgt. 1st Class Forrest Robertson is gone now, killed serving his country in Afghanistan, but Pittsburg State University ROTC cadets are determined that his name will be remembered on campus for many years to come.
Proceeds from "Gorilla Warfare" football T-shirts, at Jock's Nitch and at the game will go toward a PSU scholarship in Robertson's name. The football game, against Missouri Southern State University, will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Carnie Smith Stadium.
Each year PSU ROTC Gorilla Battalion members choose a charity to receive proceeds from the T-shirt sales, according to Lt. Col. Christopher Lambert, chairman of the PSU military science department.
"In the past they've donated to causes like Wounded Warriors, and this year their choice was a scholarship in SFC Robertson's name," Lambert said.
Robertson, 35, had been a military science instructor at PSU. He died Nov. 3 of small arms fire in Pul-E-Alam, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his unit. He was assigned to the 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat in Fort Stewart, Ga.
His death was a deep personal loss for his former students.
"He was my instructor for three years," said Kristina Willis, Pittsburg, an ROTC member. "He was doing what he loved when he passed, and that helps a little."
It was Robertson's love of the military and his duties that prompted the ROTC cadets to think of establishing a scholarship in his name.
"He epitomized the passion for the military that I think most of the cadets also have, and he also took classes while he was here at PSU," Willis said. "We thought that a scholarship would be the best way to honor him."
John Fatkin, also an ROTC member, said that proceeds from T-shirt sales for the Gorilla Dash, which is held in April, will also go toward the scholarship. The dash was started by SFC Robertson.
"Right now the scholarship is continuing, but we want to make it endowed so the scholarship never goes away," he said.
Fatkin isn't sure how much is needed for this, but said that the next step will be to talk to alumni who may wish to make donations to the scholarship fund.
"The scholarship will be something ROTC cadets will strive for and look forward to earning," he said. "It's our intention that SFC Robertson will never be forgotten, and long after we're gone, his name will still be on the Pitt State campus."