Laie residents celebrate Manti Te'o NFL draft pick to San Diego Chargers


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April 28, 2013


Brian Te'o and Ottilia Te'o celebrated their son Manti Te'o's recent NFL draft as a football linebacker for the San Diego Chargers. Laie residents gathered on Saturday in Laie Park for a party for the football star and his teammate Robby Toma.  Ottilia Te'o says their family plans to hold a small gathering on Sunday when Manti Te'o returns to Honolulu from San Diego.

photo: diane lee

This past Saturday, family, friends, neighbors and supporters of Manti Te'o celebrated his NFL draft selection by the San Diego Chargers with a community parade, followed by food and music.


Paraders drove from  Hauula Beach Park to  Laie Park to cheer for local football star Manti Te'o's recent selection to the San Diego Chargers.  

Photo: Diane Lee

See more photos from the parade.

Car horns echoed through the streets of Laie Saturday afternoon, as a motorcade of floats and cars, which included Te'o’s father, Brian, mother, Ottilia, and grandmother Norma made its way to Laie Park. For hours, neighborhood kids played football as adults and kupuna spoke of the pride Te'o has brought the Laie
community.

“It’s just overwhelming. We’re so appreciative of the support this community has given Manti. They’ve been there through all the highs and the lows. They’ve always stood by his side. We’re so thankful,” says Ottilia.

It had been a whirlwind couple of months for Te'o. He has endured the challenge of overcoming an NCAA championship defeat. Then came the "girlfriend" scandal, followed by hoards of media scrutiny and football criticism.

But, as most things do, the dust settled and those who have supported Te'o since he was a kid were there cheering, laughing and talking about him in only the highest regard.

Te'o was scheduled to participate in the parade, but after being selected by the Chargers on Friday afternoon, was asked to be in San Diego for a press conference and team introduction. He plans to return to Hawaii this week to spend some much-needed quality time with his family.

On his son's selection by the Chargers, Brian Te'o says, “I love the pick; we’re just so excited and ecstatic. He’s reaping the benefits of being a darn good son.”

With a humble heart and sound work ethic, Te‘o knows the Laie community will always be on his side. Now, it’s time for him to get to work, this time as a representative of the National Football League.

 

A professional writer for 10 years, Chris Fleck has covered a variety topics from history and sports to food and science. He currently is an adjunct professor at Hawaii Pacific University, teaching in both the communication and journalism departments. He is an avid runner and hiker and has embraced living in Hawaii since 2004.

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