Sam Leigland Wears Jersey Number in Honor of Late Brother - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Sam Leigland Wears Jersey Number in Honor of Late Brother

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When you ask the Leigland family about their brother and son, Augustus, it's hard for them to even know where to start.

"Gosh, there's so much to tell," said Sam, Augustus' younger brother.

Augustus' name that won't be forgotten any time soon in the Northern C community.

"Augustus was the type of kid that, he got along well with the entire student body. He was just friends with everyone," said Power superintendent and boys basketball coach Loren Dunk

"He really liked football," Sam remembered. "He was one heck of a kicker."

"He grew up loving the outdoors and doing things as a family. Hunting, camping, fishing. He really embedded himself in wildlife too," recalled Kerstin Leigland, Augustus' mom.

Then, on October 23rd, 2010, the Leigland family got a call that changed their lives forever.

"We were at a movie cause they were all out. I had gotten a couple calls during our movie and I was like, okay text me if it's something I need to come and call you about," Kerstin explained.

Augustus was killed in a hunting accident.

"It didn't take any time to sink in, that's for sure. It was just an instant, like wow. You know. It was rough," said Sam.

"It was a lot of shock for the community. A lot of sadness and grief to get through," added Coach Dunk. "It's just tough in a small community like that." 

"It was hard. Noone should ever have to go through that," Kerstin explained. "You just cope every day after that. We miss him."

It didn't take long after the accident for Montana to begin their outpouring of support - including having a patch with his initials, AL, and jersey number, 13, sewn on every single football jersey in Class C for the rest of the 2010 season.

"The community here was exceptional. You live in a small town, it's like family," Kerstin said. "We all didn't really realize how many lives he touched." 

Seven and a half years later, and you'll spot Sam sporting Augustus' number on his back during basketball season.

"13's just kind of been the symbol, I guess, of his hard work and his dedication to everything he did," Sam said.

A jersey number may seem like a simple thing - but for Sam, it's his way to remember Augustus.

"I think it shows that Sam thinks a little bit deeper about the activity itself, but more about the connection that players make with people when they're playing a sport," Coach Dunk explained.

"It makes me feel very proud. Very proud of Sam," Kerstin said. "To remember Augustus is wonderful. He was certainly wonderful."

And while the 5'11" guard represents his last name through #13, he still strives to be Sam.

"It's not so much following in the footsteps as it is writing your own story with a touch of the past in there," Sam said. "You can create your own legacy with that gentle reminder."

"The number's definitely in honor of, in memory of Augustus, but he is certainly his own person," Kerstin said. "Casts his own shadow. He doesn't walk in the shadow of anyone else."

Sam added, "Something without effort is nothing. So every time I touch the field or I touch the court, I always try to give it my 100%. Even if I'm not really feeling it. In that way, I feel like I can make him proud and do that."