Laie residents celebrate Manti Te'o NFL draft pick to San Diego Chargers
April 28, 2013
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.
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
“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.