I have lived in State College my entire life, surrounded by the pride and legacy that is Penn State. Ive grown up constantly hearing stories of Joe Paterno, the legendary football coach.
I didnt think too much of the local celebrity until 2008, when we had family friends visit from Minnesota. After only being in town for a week they were perplexed as to why everyone was always talking about JoePa. I tried to explain the essence of Paterno, but somehow it could not be put into words.
That was when I realized that Paterno was so much more than just another football coach. The reason this man had gained so much respect is that he gave that respect back to the community. Not only did he donate countless amounts of money to the university, but he took an interest in every student he came across. It was extremely difficult to explain his character to someone who wasnt directly involved, someone who hadnt seen him influence our town.
I never had the privilege of meeting Paterno personally, but he made an impact on my life forever.
Sarah Elder State College