Local Connection: Manti Te'o - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Local Connection: Manti Te'o

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

By: Rick Blangiardi

The Manti Te'o story is made for the movies.

Local boy from Laie.

Punahou graduate. Samoan proud.

Turned down USC to go to catholic Notre Dame despite his deep Mormon faith.

As team captain, he has led the fighting Irish to the top of the BCS standings and perhaps a national championship.

But it is his life off the field that inspired us to send Steve Uyehara and Mike Cherry to Boston College and Notre Dame last week to follow this young man to the final home game of his career.

What we found was someone who has true strength of character, who visits homeless centers and works with charities.

Who, as Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly says, "lives his life the right way." Who leads by example.

Who was raised right.

In a span of a few hours on sept. 12, he lost his grandmother to a longtime illness and his girlfriend to leukemia. Yet, he went out and played in their memory and gave an outstanding performance.

We devoted a lot of resources to the story of Manti and it was worth it.

As one Leilehua high school student wrote on our web site after watching one of the stories:

"You Manti Te'o are an amazing man. The pride i feeling knowing that you are from Hawaii is almost overwhelming as I sit here with tears in my eyes. Your parents, family, friends and an entire state have an amazingly pure reason to feel proud of you."

"When you return home, I will be there asking for your autograph, not for what you have done on the field but for who you are off it!"

I couldn't have said it better.

Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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