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Page updated Feb 22, 2013 11:04 AM

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Track Star and Super Bowl Champ Renaldo Nehemiah Speaks with Inmates

Inmates at the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center received an important message of hope from Renaldo Nehemiah, a former world class track star and NFL player, who addressed them in the jail gymnasium on Thursday, February 21. Best known for his world records in hurdling and for being a member of the Super Bowl XIX Champions San Francisco Forty-Niners, Mr. Nehemiah talked about times of adversity he encountered, like losing his mother to breast cancer when he was 14 and being unable to compete in the 1980 Olympics at the peak of his track career because of the U.S. boycott of the summer games. He used those and other examples to encourage his audience to persevere, to make good decisions and “to choose to be inspired.”

During the program which was presented in honor of Black History Month, Mr. Nehemiah spoke of Grambling’s legendary coach Eddie Robinson who reminded his players, “We’ve done so much with so little.” These words, Mr. Nehemiah said, not only inspired a young quarterback named Doug Williams who would go on to become the first African American quarterback to win a Super Bowl but are words that today still offer an important message that even with less, people can achieve more.

Following his remarks, Mr. Nehemiah took questions from the audience of inmates who asked about his concern for young people and about his track career. After the program, Sheriff Dana Lawhorne thanked Mr. Nehemiah for his thoughtful words and Director Shennell Coit gave him an embroidered throw blanket and a challenge coin in gratitude for his time and remarks.

The Alexandria Sheriff’s Office provides inmates with ongoing programs focused on education, sobriety and making the successful transition back into the community once they are released.

Photo: Renaldo Nehemiah spoke with inmates at the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center about overcoming adversity.

Renaldo Nehemiah addressing inmates