IOWA CITY, Iowa — The Wave that takes place between the first and second quarters at Iowa home games has become one of the most popular and loved traditions in college football.

And with good reason. With UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital towering over Kinnick Stadium’s east sideline, and many of the patients inside watching from the hospital’s upper floors, seeing the entire crowd and both teams wave to the kids inside is a touching scene.

It was no different Friday as the Huskers took part, with most everyone on the NU sideline turning to wave to the patients.

That wave meant a little more for at least one person in the building.

Among the signs supporting the Hawkeyes, there was one window, presumably the one into the room of a patient named Jaxson, that sported a white sign with red lettering:




Peering through binoculars in the Kinnick press box across the field from the hospital, there were plenty of kids in black and yellow Iowa gear. And at least one person in a red Huskers T-shirt.

So here’s to you, Jaxson, whoever you are. You and your sign were noticed by many.

Heroes honored: Brian Thurston of Omaha and Justin Smith of Dubuque, Iowa, were honored as part of the annual heroes celebration in conjunction with the game.

With Nebraska and Iowa playing for the Heroes Trophy, a fan of each school is nominated for a heroic act from the past year.

Thurston was honored for his heroism on March 19, 2018.

He and two of his co-workers heard a loud vehicle collision and immediately acted. A car had struck a minivan and the minivan ended upside down.

Thurston was the first to the scene and found three people inside the minivan, unable to get out. Using his pocket knife, he cut the seat belts and dragged the occupants out of the car. Two of them were unhurt, but the third had a broken leg.

“I was afraid he would die if I didn’t stop the bleeding,” Thurston said in a news release.

Thurston removed his shirt and tied it around the person’s leg and tightened it until the bleeding stopped. Thurston’s quick actions stabilized the individual’s situation until paramedics arrived.

Smith, an assistant coach on the University of Dubuque women’s basketball team, was honored after he took the wheel of the team bus after the driver had a medical emergency and passed out.

Smith was able to stop the bus safely after it struck a guard rail.

Smith, Thurston and members of their families were recognized at halftime by Nebraska Gov. Pete Rickets and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, among others.

Earlier this year, people could nominate residents of Iowa and Nebraska who performed extraordinary acts of heroism and service in their communities for the “citizen hero” award. American Red Cross Board members then selected the winners.

[ PHOTOS: The Huskers finish the season with loss to the Hawkeyes ]

Reach the writer at 402-473-7436 or On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.