The “Hometown Hall of Famers™” series continued on March 19, 2013, with a true celebration of St. Clair Shores, Mich. heritage as the legacy of the late Hall of Fame coach George Allen was honored. That heritage is deeply rooted within both the Pro Football Hall of Fame through the Allen family and Allstate Insurance Company through Allstate’s president, chairman and CEO, Tom Wilson, a Lake Shore High School alumnus and St. Clair Shores native himself.
Allen’s plaque ceremony was attended by not only 1,300 current Lake Shore High School students, but also a number of local dignitaries including Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end Charlie Sanders, Mayor Kip Walby, Mayor Pro Tem Ron Frederick, and several school board members. Following opening music from the school’s band and the singing of the National Anthem, Principal Joe DiPonio welcomed Allstate’s president, chairman and CEO to the podium.
Wilson spoke to the crowd about what a unique place Lake Shore High School and the St. Clair Shores community is. He explained, “I know this is a special place because I had the opportunity to do so many remarkable things with my life. That is what you get out of living in a place like this and going to Lake Shore High School.”
Wilson continued with remarks about the mission of the “Hometown Hall of Famers™” program saying, “Allstate lives and works within communities like this across America, and that is what this program is about. It is about helping America reflect inward and seeing what a good life you have within your communities.”
Inspirational words were also shared by the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enterprises President / CEO George Veras as he underscored the old adage, “You can’t know where you’re going to go unless you know from where you’ve come.” Veras explained that St. Clair Shores and Lake Shore High School are now an extension of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Together, Veras and Governor George Allen, Jr., the son of Hall of Famer George Allen, unveiled the historic hometown plaque to cheers from the crowd.
As Governor Allen took the podium, he opened his speech by saying how emotional the day was for him. He was so grateful to have had the opportunity to walk the halls that his father walked as a high school student and see Lake Shores firsthand.
“My father learned the meaning of hard work here. He developed his work ethic during the Depression while living in this area and he tried to instill that same work ethic in all of his children and his players. He taught us that the harder we work, the luckier we’d get.”
To close his heartfelt speech, Allen, Jr. highlighted a few important messages he learned from his father. First, he shared a humorous quote, saying, “God, family and football are the three most important things in life. During football season, football comes first.” Allen then addressed the students in the room by telling them, “Each of you are a Hall of Famer in your own family. There is no one more important to your family than you.” Allen’s overall message to the student body in attendance was one of hard work, achieving success and remembering your hometown legacy along the way.
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