May 14, 2013
By: Betsy Devine
Reggie White's legacy on the sport of football, in the state of Tennessee and as a man of faith continues to make an everlasting impact.
On Monday morning, White was honored in his hometown of Chattanooga, Tenn., by the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Allstate Insurance Company as part of "Hometown Hall of Famers."
The honor is one of numerous that White has collected over the course of his career and posthumously.
But being recognized in his hometown has always been a special for White.
"They had a homecoming parade for [Reggie] in the streets of Chattanooga one year and he felt really honored by that," said White's wife Sara. "In the bible the messiah wasn't honored in his hometown and here he is, the messiah.
"You find that people are used to you and that you are just Reggie from Chattanooga. I am from Chattanooga as well. I think people from your hometown don't look at you the same as a person that is not used to you. We understand that. To have honor from your hometown is special because it is harder I think for people to see you as more than just this kid down the road and the block."
Reggie White was honored with a "Hometown Hall of Famer" plaque presented to Sara by Reggie's father Charles at the Howard School of Academics & Technology, where Reggie played high school football.
The ceremony took place in the school's auditorium, where the plaque will live permanently to serve as an inspiration for the school's students and athletes.
White worked hard throughout his entire career to create a legacy that could be an inspiration for generations to come.
That work ethic resulted in All-American honors at UT.
It transpired into two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards, 13-time Pro Bowl and 12-time All-Pro selections, second place all-time amongst career sack leaders (198.5), selections to the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, NFL 1990s All-Decade Team and the NFL 1980s All-Decade as well as a Super Bowl win with the Packers during his NFL career.
And because of his hard-working legacy, White has a place in both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame while his number 92 is retired in Green Bay, Philadelphia and at Neyland Stadium.
Sara appreciates all of the honors and awards her husband earned over his career. Sara acknowledges, she is most proud of the legacy that Reggie left as a man both on and off the field.
"He has gotten so many honors and awards starting in the beginning of our marriage," said Sara. "He always said `it is just another plaque, it is not who I am.' Who he is, is his legacy. What he did for people, is his legacy. How he raised his kids, is his legacy. How he treated me, is his legacy. His life didn't just encompass playing football it was about being a good person and a good community leader, and minister, and husband and a good child."
"There are so many things when you talk about him that, depending on what category, can be filled," continued Sara. "That is not true about many people. People may be good at certain things, but not so many categories. That is what is unique about Reggie and why it is hard to find somebody like him. He just crossed barriers. Racial, religion, sports barriers. He was a unique person."
In addition to the plaque at the Howard School, a commemorative Reggie White "Hometown Hall of Famers" road sign will be on display in Chattanooga for all to see.
For Sara, any award Reggie receives these days is a blessing.
"For me it keeps his memory alive and what a great thing when you can have a positive memory about your husband," said Sara. "There is so much negativity in the world and in the news that people are continuing to be positive means a lot to me."