SPECIAL to KBEC Sports
WACO — A former Ennis football standout turned war hero has been forever memorialized with a bronze statue on the campus of Baylor University.
U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. Andrew Jackson “Jack” Lummus Jr. will now stand alongside U.S. Army Corps Col. John Riley Kane thanks to a gift by A. Haag and Millette Sherman of Houston. The statues honoring the two Medal of Honor recipients were dedicated in November in the McLane Stadium Plaza.
“We are truly grateful for the generosity of Haag and Millette Sherman and their heartfelt dedication to honoring two of Baylor University’s most decorated heroes: John Kane and Jack Lummus,” said Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. “As Medal of Honor recipients, these two Baylor alumni truly served their country selflessly, and we are humbled to count them as members of our Baylor Family.
“We are forever grateful for their service and for Jack’s sacrifice, and we are honored to have the privilege of keeping their memories alive through future generations of Baylor students.”
Both multi-sport Baylor Letterwinners, John Kane and Jack Lummus’s likenesses are located on the grounds of McLane Stadium as a reminder of the lives they lived at the University, beyond the heroism they were compelled to display during World War II.
The two men received their honors for heroism in distinctly different circumstances – one as a pilot in the European theatre of World War II, while the other for his ultimate sacrifice on the rugged hills of Iwo Jima in the Pacific Theatre of the war.
Haag and Millette Sherman were inspired to create the Medal of Honor tribute as a way to honor Baylor’s history and recognize the singular heroism of Kane and Lummus.
The statues are the work of Baylor alumnus Dan Brook, a Native American artist based in Dallas, Texas, at Brook Studio. The statues honor Lummus and Kane, with both dressed in military uniforms denoting their affiliation and rank within the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army Air Corps (the precursor to the U.S. Air Force), respectively.
“Jack Lummus and John Kane represent the very best of our Baylor Family and our country,” Haag Sherman said about the project and his family’s inspiration for initiating the statue construction. “Their selfless heroics in humankind’s greatest struggle for freedom have immortalized them, and their leadership, service and faith are foundational to both Baylor and our country.
“Dan Brook’s beautiful work will educate and inspire generations of our Baylor Family and our guests. Millette and I are proud and honored to have played a small part in the commemoration of these heroes.”
The Shermans’ generous gift is helping teach future generations about the rich tradition of bravery and military service among Baylor alumni. The stories of Lummus and Kane speak to the service of Baylor Bears in both the Pacific and European theaters of World War II.
1st Lt. Andrew Jackson “Jack” Lummus Jr.
Andrew Jackson “Jack” Lummus Jr. came to Baylor from Ennis in 1937 after receiving a scholarship offer to play football, basketball and baseball for the Baylor Bears. During his three years at Baylor, he was recognized as an All-Southwest Conference defensive end and as a three-time All-SWC center fielder, with reports from that time calling him the best centerfielder the Bears ever had.
Before his senior year at Baylor, Lummus signed a minor league baseball contract with the Wichita State Spudders and a uniform player’s contract with the New York Giants. He left Baylor during his senior year without explanation, although many thought it was influenced by the ongoing war in Europe.
After leaving school, he played 26 games at right and center field with the Spudders. Lummus then played in nine games as a rookie defensive end for the Giants, ultimately seeing his team lose in the 1941 NFL Championship.
Just over a month after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Lummus enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. On March 8, 1945, First Lt. Jack Lummus led his rifle platoon in a daring charge on Japanese fortifications on the island of Iwo Jima. He ignored grenade blasts and a shoulder injury to knock out three enemy strongholds that were preventing his platoon from reaching its objective.
After this show of bravery, Lummus was mortally injured when he stepped on a land mine. Despite the loss of both his legs, he continued to shout directions to his men, pushing them to keep going until he was carried off the battlefield.
Lummus succumbed to his injuries later that day and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. His citation proclaimed his “outstanding valor, skilled tactics and tenacious perseverance in the face of overwhelming odds … He gallantly gave his life in service of his country.”
*This article, originally published by Baylor University Media and Public Relations on Nov. 28, 2020, has been updated throughout by KBEC Sports to localize.