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A Kansas family will make a Chiefs draft pick in honor of a father killed in Afghanistan

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A family photo a teenage girl stands next to her father who is wearing a Chiefs sweater, holding a toddler child. Next to the father is a teenage son and mother slightly behind the son.
Lisa Deghand
/
TAPS
Lisa Deghand said her late husband, Master Sgt. Deghand, would be "super excited" to attend the NFL Draft in Kansas City. The soldier was killed in action in Afghanistan.

Massive crowds are expected to surround Union Station for the NFL Draft this week. The Tragedy Assistance Program For Survivors, a NFL Salute to Service Partner, invited one Kansas family to honor a service member killed in action by announcing the Chiefs' third-round draft pick.

As crowds of people from all across the country gather around Union Station for the 2023 NFL Draft, Lisa Deghand and her family will take the stage to announces the Kansas City Chiefs' third round draft pick.

The Deghand family has been selected to participate in the event to honor Army Master Sgt. Bernard "Bernie" Deghand, Lisa's late husband, father to their three children, and a Chiefs enthusiast.

Deghand says that talking about her late husband in front of the massive crowd will be "bittersweet." "He was such a huge Chiefs fan," she said. "He should be here."

Deghand was killed in action in Afghanistan, Sept. 15, 2006.

Before his death, the Kansas native enjoyed challenging his family to a game of basketball, coaching youth sports and cheering on his hometown teams.

As season ticket holders for the Chiefs, the family went to as many games as possible. "We had the Chiefs' jackets, he wore Chiefs' pajamas, we had all kinds of Chiefs attire," Lisa Deghand said.

The Deghands were selected to participate in the 2023 Draft event by the NFL Salute to Service partner Tragedy Assistance Program For Survivors (TAPS).

TAPS helps those affected by the loss of a military member navigate services and connect with other surviving peers through counseling, events and retreats, along with other grief services.

"Moments like this, allow survivors to celebrate the life and service of their loved one, to have a moment in a place, in a space that would have been meaningful to their fallen hero," says Diana Hosford, vice president of sports and entertainment of TAPS.

"So being able to do that to celebrate him to remember him is very important in terms of the healing process, the healing journey, celebrating him, celebrating his life, saying his name is really a beautiful way to continue the legacy that they carry on," Hosford said.

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