Laie honors Hawaii's Fighting Irish

By Brenton Awa
Published On: Apr 28 2013 07:34:50 AM HST
Updated On: Apr 28 2013 07:44:23 AM HST

Weather held up in Laie tonight, much to the satisfaction of the hundreds who gathered to honor Hawaii's fighting Irish, Manti Te'o and Robby Toma.

LAIE, Hawaii -

Weather held up in Laie town for Saturday's parade, much to the satisfaction of the hundreds who gathered to honor Hawaii's fighting Irish.

If you've ever wondered how to get a day in Hawaii proclaimed as your own, here's your answer.

"Study hard, good parents, some sort of spiritual backing and following the rules," said Misty Kela'i, Communications Director for Mayor Caldwell. "Look at the outcome, even though Manti's not here today, his spirit is here today."

That message from Mayor Caldwell's office was delivered at a packed Laie park, but getting your own day may take a bit more work.

Both Robby Toma and Manti Te'o are a couple of the state's most-decorated football players.  The same can be said of them off the field, from volunteering to putting the community before themselves.  Saturday's parade was a proper North Shore welcome home.

"I remember when I was the only ha'ole boy running around here and you welcomed me in and took me in," said Robby Toma, a former Notre Dame receiver.

While Robby Toma may have not been drafted on Saturday, no one can take this date away from him.  However, he'll be the first to put the spotlight elsewhere.

"Congratulations to my brother Manti on being the 38th pick," said Toma.

Manti Te'o couldn't make Saturday's events.  He's in San Diego with his new team, but that didn't seem to affect the parade's turnout.  Members of the community think they know why.

"I think it's just him being himself, he's just a humble person I guess, his spirit is just so strong that he catches all the young ones here," said Bae Aumua, a community member.

"I remember Manti when he was only 9 years old, 10 years old, he was an excellent kid then and an excellent kid now, a great example," said Lew Carvalho, Manti's former Pop Warner coach.

Manti's parents also have a message for their community.

"Just that we're so extremely grateful to them, they stood by our side and by his side through it all so it's a lot easier for him to live and stand by his values," said Brian Te'o, Manti's father.

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