Local Fallen Navy SEAL Honored At Lions’ Game

PETOSKEY – Losing a family member in combat is something that affects many people in this country.

The Robinson family is one family that knows this firsthand.

“And as they were coming in they were hit with an RPG and at about 150-200 feet, the helicopter went immediately to the ground and crashed and burned,” said Dan Robinson. “It was an August day in northern Michigan, the sun was out, you could feel the breeze, and I get a phone call from my other son and he said, ‘Dad Heath has been killed’.”

Heath Robinson, a graduate of Petoskey High School, payed the ultimate sacrifice in 2011 when he died in Afghanistan while serving as a Navy SEAL.

Even with this tragedy, his family makes sure his legacy lives on today.

Heath’s father Dan Robinson, who now resides in Haslett, has spoken at many events and become involved with many groups, sharing his son’s story and helping others who have gone through similar situations.

“They have these retreats all over the country, and between that and the Navy SEAL Foundation, another program i work with, it’s been interesting because they’ve afforded me to do things based on my son’s death that I never would have done,” added Robinson.

One group he is involved with is TAPS,  Tragedy Assistance Program For Survivors. The group has partnered with many NFL teams, including the Detroit Lions, and was able to send Robinson to the game last weekend for their Salute To Service Initiative.

Once getting to the Lion’s practice facility, something happened that was more than Robinson expected.

“We went out on the practice field and I see a young man walking up with Coach Patricia and he had a helmet. And he shook my hand and he said Mr Robinson, I knew of your son and it’s like wow. How does that happen?” said Robinson. “And we sat there and cried. And the coach sits there and he’s got tears in his eyes, cause everybody gets it. Those are the types of things that are very healing. So I gave him a big hug and I gave him the pin and he said I’ll wear this tomorrow at the game. So he put it on his jacket,” added Robinson.

Coach Patricia was seen throughout the game and the post game press conference wearing the button with Heath Robinson’s picture on it.

“So those types of things for me, they really resonate back to my thoughts and what can i do to go out in a minute way to maybe educate the public to who our military really is,” Robinson said.

Robinson says programs like this, especially with sporting events giving it an even bigger stage, is a great way to keep those who paid the ultimate sacrifice present in our hearts, minds, and lives.

“Take a moment, really stop and think about what we have and stuff that we really enjoy everyday is because freedom isn’t free. Alot of times it’s nice to set at table, but set a place for those who aren’t home if they’re away or if they’re never coming home. That way you never forget,” said Robinson.

To learn more about TAPS, you can visit their website.

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