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Hawaii hometown backs Te'o after girlfriend hoax

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 17, 2013 at 8:39 pm •  Published: January 17, 2013
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Students at Hauula Elementary often wear Notre Dame jerseys with his number "5'' on them. Te'o has often returned to the area to talk to speak to students.

The father of another high-achieving athlete who lives in the area said he felt for Te'o's parents, and for Te'o himself.

"Of course you're going to love them no matter what and support them. There are times when you fall down, but you get to rebound. And that's where Manti personally needs our support, probably," said Benny Kai, a Kahuku resident and father of former U.S. Olympic soccer player Natasha Kai. "I support him in everything he does."

Makala Paakaula, 38, a high school administrator, said Te'o should be lauded for uniting Notre Dame during his senior year when he could have left for the NFL, she said.

"It's amazing how he brought together the whole school to become one ohana, one family, where they all belonged, where they all had a purpose," Paakaula said.

Phi Smotherman, 46, said people in Laie are sorry a guy like Manti became a victim of hoax. He said the town should throw a parade for him when he comes home in recognition of his career at Notre Dame and all the awards he received.

"I hope he does great, goes to the NFL and finds a real girlfriend that he can marry and actually touch," Smotherman said.