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Published: June 24, 2007 01:32 am    print this story   email this story   comment on this story  

A Hero's Welcome Home

Peterson honored with parade, presentation

By SCOTT TYLER
The Palestine Herald

PALESTINE For the first time in four years, Adrian Peterson was back on the field where it first began.

The 2003 Palestine High School graduate was honored Saturday with a parade through downtown Palestine and a presentation at Palestine High School’s Wildcat Stadium as the day was proclaimed “Adrian Peterson Day.”

“This day is special to me,” Peterson said to the crowd who gathered at Wildcat Stadium Saturday morning. “Growing up in Palestine, this is definitely an honor and a dream come true.”

Peterson played football as a junior and senior at Palestine High School, earning the attention of college coaches as he became the top recruit in the nation as a senior.

Peterson played at the University of Oklahoma for three years and in April, he was drafted No. 7 overall by the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL draft.

“I hope this is an inspiration for all the young kids, that just because you came from a small town like Palestine, the sky is the limit as long as you believe and you show determination,” said Peterson, who was wearing a No. 1 Vikings’ jersey. “I am going to represent Palestine to my fullest.”

Palestine Mayor Carolyn Salter opened the stadium event by presenting Peterson with a proclamation, naming June 2, 2007 “Adrian Peterson Day,” and a platter, donated by Marilyn and Joe Ed Johnston and engraved by Dickens Jewelry.

“Adrian is our first official Palestine hometown hero,” Salter said. “We look for Adrian to be an ambassador of Palestine.”

There also were a handful of keynote speakers, including Palestine Independent School District Superintendent Jerry Mayo, PHS graduate and former Dallas Cowboy Guy Brown, Peterson’s high school football coach Jeff Harrell and current Wildcat football coach and athletic director Glen Tunstall.

Harrell, who coached Peterson in both football and track, took the crowd on a trip back in time as he reflected on his star player.

“Back in high school, I remember how much he loved the game,” Harrell said.

The former Palestine head football coach turned to Peterson and said, “I remember how hard you worked and I remember the recruiting process and how you were humble through the whole process.”

Harrell then presented Peterson with a photo album on the front with Peterson’s signature, which he had done when he was just a sophomore at Palestine.

Tunstall also made a presentation, giving Peterson his framed No. 28 white Palestine jersey and pants.

During the presentation, Peterson sat alongside his family, who all were sporting Viking purple.

Before the honors at Palestine High School, there was a parade held downtown for Peterson.

The parade began at the courthouse, where fans and organizations gathered to show their support of the local hero.

“I was a fan of his when he was in college,” said Olga Foster, whose son and daughter were participating in the parade. “I think it’s neat that they’re doing this for him. I hope he encourages others to do their best.”

Many of Peterson’s family members were also among the crowd on Avenue A street.

“This is the first thing they’ve really done for him and I think it’s a good deal,” said Derrick Peterson, a relative of Peterson’s. “The turnout has been pretty big and it’s nice to see all the people coming out and showing some love.”

————

Sports Writer Sally Sexton contributed to the story.

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Photos


Adrian Peterson talks to his family, friends and fans at Palestine High School’s Wildcat Stadium Saturday during the “Adrian Peterson Day” honors. Peterson, a 2003 Palestine HIgh School graduate, was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the April NFL draft. SCOTT TYLER/The Palestine Herald (Click for larger image)


Adrian Peterson sits besides his parents, Bonita Jackson and Nelson Peterson, Saturday afternoon during the “Adrian Peterson Day” celebration at Palestine High School’s Wildcat Stadium. Peterson’s daughter, Adeja, sits on his lap. SCOTT TYLER/The Palestine Herald (Click for larger image)


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