Cairo-- Cairo is a community that proudly shows its love and support for hometown teams. Now athletes who have come and gone from Grady county have a chance to be forever honored here with a Sports Hall of Fame.
"People have talked about it several times over the years but no one ever pushed it hard enough," said Mayor Richard VanLandingham. While a small town, Cairo has an impressive number of talented athletes, from baseball great Jackie Robinson to Olympic basketball star Teresa Edwards.
"This summer we had the priviledge of watching Willie C. Harris play baseball for the Braves. And everytime they called out his name they said 'Willie C. Harris from Cairo, GA' and it just kept striking me that he was really putting us on the map and making us look good," said VanLandingham.
Harris will likely have his shot at the hall of fame one day.
But among the first to be inducted will be Bobby Walden who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and holds 2 superbowl rings. "Bobby has always been a good friend of Cairo. He comes back and visits has family here, and he's just been a very positive impact on our community," VanLandingham explained.
Bill Stanfill played multiple sports at Cairo High School. "He went on to play for the Miami Dolphins and they won a superbowl but they were also the only undefeated team in the history of the NFL, and he was one of the primary players of that team," said VanLandingham.
After winning a basketball state championship at Cairo, Teresa Edwards, the third inductee, went on to win four gold and one bronze medals in the Olympics. All three will be back at their alma mater Monday night. "Its just something to honor them and make sure our hometown guys get the recognition they well deserve," said Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President, Jennifer Majors.
Several local citizens will also be recognized tonight for Man and Woman of the Year, and the Community Service Award. "We had some great nominations this year, and I think all of the winners are well deserved," Majors said. The Chamber expects over 300 people to attend Monday evening's dinner.
The official announcement for the Hall of Fame is Monday, but the actual first induction ceremony won't happen until this fall. After that they'll make new inductions annually.