In an emotional post-practice ceremony today, Army Lt. Gen. Bryan Fenton awarded a UH football scholarship to running back Keli‘i “KK” Padello.
“I thought (Fenton) was here just to visit, to just see the team,” Padello said.
Padello is an ROTC cadet and a specialist in the Army National Guard. Head coach Nick Rolovich felt it would be fitting for Fenton to deliver the good news.
“I was honored to be here,” Fenton said. “Coach asked me to come by and talk about a guy who is a true servant leader, who represents what our military does. It was an honor.”
In addressing the team, Fenton said: “There are two important days of your life: the day you’re born and the day you figure out what you were born to do. (Padello) has figured he was born to serve the state of Hawaii as a National Guard member and football player for the Warriors. He also figured a way to serve his fellow man. I’m really proud of him, and I was just proud to be here.”
As a Mililani High senior, Padello was named the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s defensive player of the year after amassing 26 sacks in 12 games in 2013. He played a season at Southern Oregon, where he met ROTC members. In deciding to pursue a military career, Padello said he wanted to “serve and protect, especially those who can’t protect themselves.”