Lemont grads take different paths to Soldier Field spotlight
By Tina Akouris firstname.lastname@example.org August 26, 2013 10:56PM
Lemont grad Daniel Alvey at Soldier Field in Chicago | Courtesy of Lisa Alvey.
Updated: September 4, 2013 9:44PM
Eric Michaelsen was at Soldier Field Aug. 15 to watch the Bears play the San Diego Chargers in a preseason NFL game. He was sitting in the stands with Tom Molk, whose son David is an offensive lineman with the Chargers and played for Michaelsen at Lemont High School.
As Michaelsen was soaking up the ambiance of Soldier Field during the third quarter, he looked up at the Jumbotron and was surprised to see another familiar face — First Lt. Daniel Alvey, who was in the same graduating class with Molk at Lemont and was his teammate on the Indians football team.
The Bears honored Alvey during the third quarter as part of the team’s military salute. Alvey served in Afghanistan and went to college at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.
“It was an honor to be a part of the Military Salute at Soldier Field,” Alvey said in a statement released by his mother, Lisa. “I know it meant a lot to my family, (since) my parents have been Bears season ticket holders my entire life. It was a real highlight that my grandparents were able to attend the game and share in that special moment.”
Alvey also has earned several military honors including: Paratrooper Wings, the National Defense Service Medal, the Army Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Global War on Terror Medal, NATO Medal and the Afghan Campaign Medal.
“This was so neat because I had no idea that Dan would be honored during the game,” Michaelsen said. “They were showing pictures of the soldiers up on the scoreboard, and I always like that part of the game anyway. Then I saw Dan’s name and I thought, ‘Hey, I know him!’ ”
Michaelsen coached both Molk and Alvey when they played on the Lemont football team. Alvey was a defensive lineman.
But Michaelsen also remembers that Alvey had a predisposition to going into the military. And when Alvey chose West Point, Michaelsen wasn’t surprised.
“He was always very smart and going to West Point, that’s a very selective and difficult school to get into,” Michaelsen said. “Then, when you graduate, you have to put in that commitment into the Army.”
Molk, a 2007 Lemont graduate who went on to star at Michigan, is an offensive lineman in his second season with the Chargers. Molk also gives Lemont the distinction of being the first of Michaelsen’s players to make it to the NFL.
It was also the first time Molk, who was drafted in the seventh round by the Chargers in 2012, played as a professional in his hometown.
“I can remember David’s work ethic and not betting against him making it to the NFL,” Michaelsen said. “I knew how hard he worked.”
Molk played the entire second half in the Bears’ 33-28 victory over the Chargers. But Michaelsen was proud of Molk for another reason: the Lemont alum is still part of the Indians’ program.
“He works out in our weight room and has done so for the past two years,” Michaelsen said. “And he was at our youth football camp and is great with the kids.”
Michaelsen is going to take his memories of Molk and Alvey at Soldier Field with him as the Indians progress during this young football season.
“(Alvey) got a standing ovation,” Michaelsen said. “It was a real special night for me to be in that situation with them.”