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A Good Reed: Trojan Football legend introduces his book to Millington with signing

By Thomas Sellers Jr.Mario Reed graphic

High atop the scoreboard at the Millington Football Stadium sets the No. 29.
Occasionally a Millington Central High School student will ask, “Why is 29 up there?” or “Who is No. 29?” Those close to the Millington Trojan Football program proudly answer those question with the name Mario Reed.
And this spring a book, “Brothers: The Mario Reed Story,” was released that goes in depth about the 2000 MCHS graduate and his journey back from the Sept. 12, 1997 night when he suffered an injury on the same field where his No. 29 is retired.
Now, 31, Reed has lived in Bartlett the past 11 years. But he visits Millington often to visit friends, attend Trojan Football games and share his story. This past weekend Reed was in Flag City for the annual M&M Bowl to watch his friend and former teammate Ahmaad Galloway coach the Munford Cougars against their alma mater.
Then on Sept. 14, Reed was back for his book signing at Applegarth Books located at 8507 Highway 51. For a couple hours, Reed greeted fans and supporters.
For those who picked up the book and read it, they found out about Reed from childhood to a Millington Football legend. And they learned about his life today, how he stays active from working out in the gym, to coaching and giving back to the communities that shaped him.
“It’s an honor to come back and have a signing,” Reed said. “This is where everything started as far as my football injury. I emphasized a lot in my story about Millington and how they came together and supported me. They helped keep my spirit alive.”
“Brothers: The Mario Reed Story” by auther Perry Burrows addresses relationships between Reed and his family, teammates, coaches, politicians, religious and civic leaders that helped him face challenges. It was 16 years ago Reed, a sophomore defensive back, suffered an injury against Houston that left him paralyzed.
That night changed Reed’s life forever and the Millington Football program. The Trojan Football family took another hit Aug. 21, 2012 when sophomore Dana Payne died during a practice after a tackle effected his breathing pattern.
“I heard about it that night,” Reed recalled. “I missed the whole entire football season last year. The first I’ve missed since I left Millington. One of the main reasons, because I was in the process of sitting down with my author Perry Burrows, and he was helping me put my story to words. I wanted to stay focused on what I was doing.
“When that happen, it was a wake-up call,” he continued. “It was a shock. I was surprised because I’ve never known anyone who passed away from a football injury on the field. My heart went out to the family and everyone was touched by it. I looked at it from my prospective, I’m blessed to be here and tell my story. I look at it as I have to keep living my goals, keep living my dreams and doing the things I can do.”
Reed’s latest achievement of writing a book started in 2008 from a conversation with neighbor and friend Art DeLaurier, at the time chief editor at Ducks Unlimited. DeLaurier suggested to Reed to put his thoughts and life experience to paper.
Reed started to dictate his days growing up in North Memphis, relationship with his older brother David and other thoughts when DeLaurier moved to Michigan. Before his departure, DeLaurier recorded 8 hours of tape interviewing Reed.
But all that time invested didn’t go to waste. David introduced his brother to Burrows. Reed sat down with the author and started the process of getting the book written.
In March, “Brothers: The Mario Reed Story,” was ready for release. And since that time, Reed and Burrows have been making the rounds promoting the book and telling the Trojan’s story.
“It’s definitely an honor that people would even give me the opportunity to come out and share a few words of encouragement with them,” Reed said. “I talk freely to thousands of people each and every day about it. To get a request to come out is a blessing within itself. I’m grateful to get the exposure and get my name out there. I’m getting support from people who want to see me succeed in some of the things I want to do.”
Reed cited the unconditional love of his family has motivated him since that September night in 1997. And friends who have stuck by his side all the way push him helping his brother coach his Grandview Heights Football team.
Other goals Reed has is getting his story out to a bigger audience through a different medium with a documentary, a trailer on Youtube.com and shopping around for a possible movie deal.
But closer to home, Reed wants to build a place similar to the one that help make his childhood so memorable.
“My next big thing is putting together plans for a community center,” he noted. “Either the Frayser or North Memphis area. I grew up in North Memphis off Manassas and Mosley. I grew up in the Dixie Homes Boys’ Club. That is what has really gave me the vision of starting my youth center.
“When I think of a youth center, my mind recollects to the time me and all my friends grew up in it,” Reed concluded. “That is what helped me find myself. I found my toughness and athletics and a lot of things in that youth center.”
For more information more about Mario Reed or to purchase a copy of  his book “Brothers: The Mario Reed Story,” visit www.marioreed.com, e-mail marioreed29@yahoo.com, or visit Amazon.com, and Barnes and Noble (POD) print-on-demand.

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