By Miles Johnson The Stentor
Jerome “The Bus” Bettis, the Hall of Fame running back of the Pittsburgh Steelers, is a highly decorated athlete who hails from Detroit. On Sept. 29, Renaissance honored the former pro footballer’s recent induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Arguably, no athlete has had the impact on the city of Detroit like Bettis has. In 2004, his last year in the National Football League, Bettis and his team—the Steelers—won the Super Bowl in his hometown of Detroit.
During his homecoming, he was rewarded with the key to the city by former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
“I am living proof, from the west side of Detroit, that you could be a Hall of Famer,” said Bettis.
His impact on Detroit extends beyond the gridiron. He invested millions of his own money to resurrect and refurbish his high school, Mackenzie.
“I thought it was cool how he came and honored our school,” said senior Alton Kirksey.
Although the fruits of his labor did not lead to the delay of its destruction – Mackenzie was demolished in 2012 – it still exemplified his compassion for the residents and students of Detroit.
That compassion resonated with the students.
“It was an exciting moment for me because it was my first time meeting a Hall of Famer. He’s a city great and a great person to look up to,” said senior Alvin Golden.
Bettis’ stop at Renaissance provided many students with the opportunity to hear from someone who understands where they come from – students who strive to be where he is now.