CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Cedar Creek Lake residents Jody Vincik Janice Grubbs-Vincik had an opportunity to play extras in the upcoming Hollywood film, “12 Mighty Orphans,” being filmed in Ft. Worth. The film is set in the 1940s and is based on the book, “Twelve Mighty Orphans: The Inspiring True Story of the Mighty Mites Who Ruled Texas Football,” by New York Times bestselling sports author Jim Dent. Janice is Director of Sales for The Monitor and Jody works for Henderson County in IT.
The story holds special significance for Jody, whose grandfather, Walter “Sleepy” Finigan, played on the team, having graduated from the Masonic home in Ft. Worth in 1942. The story follows a group of orphan boys who lived in the Masonic Home in Ft. Worth, a home that was built to house and educate the orphans of Texas Freemasons. During the Depression, many of the residents of the home actually had a parent, the widow of a Mason who was unable to care for her child.
In the book’s description, it says, “Life at the Masonic Home was about to change, though, with the arrival of a lean, bespectacled coach by the name of Rusty Russell. Here was a man who could bring rain in the midst of a drought. Here was a man who, in virtually no time at all, brought the orphans’ story into the homes of millions of Americans. In the 1930s and 1940s, there was nothing bigger in Texas high school football than the Masonic Home Mighty Mites―a group of orphans bound together by hardship and death. These youngsters, in spite of being outweighed by at least thirty pounds per man, were the toughest football team around. They began with nothing – not even a football – yet in a few years were playing for the State championship on the highest level of Texas football. This is a winning tribute to a courageous band of underdogs from a time when America desperately needed fresh hope and big dreams.”
The film boasts stars like Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall and Luke Wilson and wrapped up shooting Monday. Those interested in following updates can visit the Facebook page 12 Mighty Orphans.
As for Walter “Sleepy” Finigan, after graduating from the Masonic Home in 1942, he served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps. In 1947 he joined the Dallas Police Department (DPD), and worked there for 26 years. He was known as “Officer Friendly.” Retiring in 1974 from the DPD, he and his wife moved to Ragley La. and he worked at PPG Industries in Lake Charles. He was offered early retirement in 1982 and in 1983 retired to Mabank. He passed away in Sept 19, 2007.