The story of how young Kaleb Watson bravely led first responders to a shooter at a Pensacola, Florida Naval base during the final minute of his life was enough to tug at the heartstrings and patriotism to some all the way to Oregon.
Joshua Kaleb Watson would lose his life — as did two others — that December day by an al-Qaida operative, but Watson has been hailed a hero for his actions.
On Wednesday at Enterprise High School, not only was a scholarship awarded to an EHS JROTC student in his honor, but a bronze plaque of Watson was presented to his parents, Ben and Sheila Watson, during a ceremony in the school lobby.
Pat Reagan of Portland, Oregon first heard of Watson’s heroics and was particularly moved, said Gary Price, SGM of the JROTC Wildcat Battalion at EHS.
Reagan had honored others previously with his busts/plaques, and he asked to commission one of Watson.
The plaque was delivered and since Watson’s parents were due to be on hand anyway for a scholarship presentation, so it was kept a secret to the them.
“There was a huge outpouring from the community for Kaleb,” Price said. “Mr. Harrison had to open up the presentation because I was so emotional.”
Price had seen Watson ever day while he was a student at EHS. Watson had been a member of the JROTC rifle team.
“It was a very touching tribute,” Price said.
Harrison said the Watsons were speechless when the plaque was presented.
“They were very grateful,” Harrison said of the Watsons. “They were excited because his memory will live on.”