Perry Hale, and the Dinuba High Chain Gang

Perry Hale walks onto Claude Hebert field for his last game.

They are the guys at every football game that stay out of the way, and out of the spotlight. But without them, officials, and players would be lost.

The chain gang are the men moving down the field, with every yard, and down, letting everyone know what down it is, and how many more yards to go for a first.

At Dinuba High, there is one man who has been a part of the chain gang since 1976.

Perry Hale says he has only missed two home games in the last 41 years.

“I’ve been here all the time and my wife, supports me. It’s just a lot of fun for me. It’s the best thing there is," says Hale.

Perry is the guy on the sidelines that holds the down box.

“I’m right with the ball wherever the ball is. And then everybody knows what down it is because I have the down box," says Hale.

He came into this position by accident. A friend of his had to miss a game, and asked Perry if he could fill in.

That was the beginning.

Tonight, the end.

After 41 years, he has decided its time to put the box down for good. His fellow chain gang members say he will be tough to replace.

“It is breaking my heart actually, but. He served well, and he’s going on other things, and enjoying more time with his family and his grandkids," says Tim Thiesen.

Tim has been the lead on the chain gang for the last 15 years.

He, and the others say this is the best seat in the house.

"You see everything. You see what the official see, versus being in the stands. It’s just great," says Thiesen.

Right now, they have some newer members, but say the crew will have to find a new box man before the next home game.

"He’s a fixture, he’s like an institution. So we really appreciate him," says David Felts.

Last week Perry was given a plaque from the high-school, honoring him for the time he's put in.

He says it was a surprise, and was honored.

“I’m going to miss it. It has been part of my life from a long time," says Hale.

For the last 41 years, he has spent his life on the sidelines, following that ball with every yard. Its something he says he wouldn't trade for anything.

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