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Community members push for Troy Gilbert Middle School

Troy Gilbert, who attended Central High School and Angelo State University, died while rescuing more than 20 special forces members in Iraq.

SAN ANGELO, Texas — The controversy on whether or not the San Angelo Independent School District will change the name of Robert E. Lee Middle School is over. Now, however, the focus is on what the new name will be.

A name that's gaining traction among members of the community is Troy Gilbert, who is an American hero and called San Angelo home.

Troy Gilbert attended Central High School and was a part of the class of 1989. Although he finished high school in San Antonio, he returned to San Angelo to attend Angelo State University. After college, Gilbert got married, had five children, and became an air force fighter pilot. However, in November of 2006, Gilbert died while successfully rescuing more than 20 special forces members who were under attack in Iraq.

"He was a good guy, you know? He was a good one. It's tough to lose somebody like that. But, he did it doing what he loved and he saved a lot of people doing it," said Robby Underwood, a former classmate of Gilbert who is supporting the name change. Underwood believes Gilbert is a local hero everyone can be proud of and hopes it can unify the community.

"It seems to be bringing people together on this issue. I know there's still a lot of hurt feelings and a lot of differing opinions, but I think we can all get behind this, simply because a lot of us knew him. A lot of us knew him. He fought for us. He’s one of us.  He was from San Angelo. So, I would hope that this would start a unification process," Underwood said.

Proposed names can be submitted in writing to communications@saisd.org prior to the November pre-agenda workshop meeting on Monday, November 9.