- Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 June 2010 14:57
- Published on Wednesday, 16 June 2010 14:57
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If you build they will come — and on Friday evening, the entire King George family came. It was homecoming for King George County’s most celebrated athlete, Jermon Bushrod. From the moment King George Supervisor Dale Sisson proclaimed Friday, June 11, as Jermon Bushrod Day, the King George High School (KGHS) auditorium exploded into the stratosphere. Adding compliment to legendary status, Bushrod was also presented with the key the county.
With newspaper columnist Grant Paulsen as the master of ceremonies and Bushrod at his side, fans of the New Orleans Saints left tackle and KGHS graduate saw his life transform from Little League baseball to Superbowl XLIV champion; all courtesy of film, slides and narratives from former coaches, teachers and teammates.
In essence, the entire auditorium was a cornucopia of who’s who in area athletics, education and politics. They came to pay homage to a rare athlete who took his skills to the next level and succeeded beyond all expectations.
Although Bushrod’s rise to local and national prominence was not overnight, his story is steeped in perseverance. King George Supervisor, Shiloh District, and King George NAACP president, Cedell Brooks Jr. praised Bushrod for remembering his humble beginnings, while inspiring future athletes with his model citizenship.
“Today we are here to honor a young African American who made it to the National Football League, and that is something we’re all proud of,” Brooks said. “I’m thankful we’ve all come together to show this young man that we appreciate his accomplishment, and that he realizes that King George County is where he is from.”
Moments after the New Orleans Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV, millions of fans witnessed Bushrod celebrating his team’s victory by carrying the King County County flag around the stadium field.
“Watching Jermon run around the field with the county’s flag means a lot,” Brooks said. “It shows where his heart is, and it says that the reason why I am here today is because of King George County, and the people and its families who made it possible for me.”
Delegate Albert Pollard presented Bushrod with a plague commemorating a resolution passed by the Virginia House of Delegates, on March 11, 2010. The plague encompassed Bushrod’s entire academic, community and professional career as a model citizen.
“Your dedication and hard work is more impressive than your abilities,” Pollard said. “What’s most impressive is that you remember where you’re from.”
Winning is sometimes measured in inches, and after Bushrod’s teammate and former KGHS varsity quarterback James Brown fell inches short from high school football immortality in the 2001 Group AA playoffs against Lafayette in the remaining seconds, except for his recent Super Bowl XLIV ring, the elusive championship ring eluded him. With that unforgettable moment in time in mind, Bushrod’s varsity football head coach Eddie Haynes spoke proudly of Bushrod and his high school teammates’ accomplishments, while focusing on the most important aspect of an athlete’s growth.
“We’re all here to celebrate Jermon’s successes, and I want you to understand that he had help along the way,” coach Haynes said. “I’ve never seen a junior varsity, varsity or college football game that Jermon played in that his mom and dad were not there — he had a lot of love an support from his family.”
Other featured speakers during the event were King George School Board member Renee Parker, Reverend Joseph Haden, KGHS educator Beth Dibble, former KGHS varsity basketball head coach Eric Davis, and his assistant Frank Bennett, former KGHS football teammates (James Brown, D.D. Boxley, Jim Rishmawi, Carlos Allen), former Towson University football teammates (Petey Moore, George Mitchell, Marcus Edwards), King George Little League coach Jeff Trustlow and KGHS educator William Etheridge.
After the speakers left the stage, along with Bushrod by his side, auctioneer Kelly Strauss, from Nicholls Auction Marketing Group, auctioned off New Orleans Saints and Washington Redskins memorabilia. More than $11,000 in proceeds from the auction, wingspan raffle and door admissions were donated to KGHS football and other sports programs.
Leonard M. Banks