By Thomas Sellers Jr.
It seems the duo of Rex and Sue Waits will be a permanent fixture at the Millington Football Stadium End Zone Grill.
For years the couple oversaw the activities centered around the large grill and smoker set up next to the Millington Trojan Fieldhouse.
The high school sweethearts made the Friday night tailgating a family affair with friends, community leaders, MCHS faculty and invited guest.
But in 2010 Rex passed away. And this summer Millington said goodbye to Sue. Their children now carry on the tradition. And future guests to the End Zone Grill will have a chance to learn of Rex Waits with a plaque that was dedicated Friday night during halftime of the Millington/Bolton game by the Class of 2010.
2010 Class President Frankie Dakin joined his classmate Stanton Brown in presenting members for Waits family with the plaque that will be placed by the dining area recently built by the grill.
“It’s awesome,” Jeff Waits said fighting back tears. “It’s something he always wanted to do, give back.”
Before graduating from Millington in 1958, Rex was a standout lineman for the Trojans. He made the decision to stay home and raise his family in Millington.
Rex and his family cooked out for church functions, family gatherings and Millington athletics ranging from softball to wrestling.
But the family is mostly known for its work on Friday Millington home football games. The Class of 2010 wanted to pay tribute to the family and the man known as “Mr. Rex” months before his passing. Plans for the dining area started from the surplus the class had.
“I love giving back to people who I know are going to appreciate it and who also have been giving back to the school for a long time,” Brown said. “ It was good to just see our money not just setting around but being used for a great thing.”
Once the money was handed over to the Millington Football Booster Club, members like Oscar Brown started the construction process. A cement platform was the first part.
Once the foundation was laid, pillars were added with a Hawaiian style roof. And in two home games, several guest of the End Zone Grill have eaten at the structure.
“It’s something that brings honor to them,” Terry said. “They taught us to respect the people of the town and help out any way you could. We want to continue their legacy.”
The Waits family legacy will continue each time the grill is fired up.
And as the family continues to grow with births and marriages, Terry said the fellowship meals his parents started has helped their family grow tremendously over the years.
“I grew up playing with the Waits my whole football career here at Millington,” Brown recalled. “Being around the whole family is a great time. They’re great people. People like that you just want to keep around in your life.”
Terry said testimonies like Brown comfort him and his family.
“I hope whoever comes around had the opportunity to met my Dad or my Mother,” he said. “If they didn’t, they missed out on a great set of people. I’m not just saying that because they are my parents. Their love for the city, the school and community by far out shone anything I’ve ever seen. I’m not just saying that because I’m their child.”
As their child, Terry said he knows his parents are looking down with pride and with some advice.
“I hope we can just make him smile and say ‘Boys, y’all don’t burn the stuff on the grill,’” he concluded.
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