Following the news of James "Radio" Kennedy passing away on Sunday morning, social media was filled with tributes to the man that made such an impact on Anderson, South Carolina. The common theme was that Kennedy had inspired those in the local community, as well as many across the nation after the 2003 Cuba Gooding Jr. film was released. As evidence of this impact, one Radio "superfan" told a tale of how she traveled from Minnesota to meet Kennedy.
Speaking on Conversations With Paul Brown, Katie Nicora explained how she first watched Radio and the impact that the film made on her life. This movie was required viewing while she was attending college, and it actually inspired her to make a journey to Anderson, South Carolina in order to meet Kennedy and see the community that embraced him.
Technically, Nicora was heading to the east coast for some meetings, but she figured that South Carolina was on the way. She drove through the night and arrived in time for T.L. Hanna's homecoming game.
Per Nicora, one of her concerns prior to meeting Kennedy was that Hollywood had changed some details of the story. She had initial doubts about whether or not he was actually as integral to the football team as previously explained in the film. Nicora quickly received an answer when Kennedy led the football team onto the field.
As part of her trip to South Carolina, Nicora was given the opportunity to meet Radio, as well as Coach Harold Jones, the man that had embraced Kennedy and made him a part of the team. She was able to speak with Jones for an entire hour and learned a considerable amount of information about Kennedy and the situation that led to him joining the team.
Additionally, Nicora explained that she was invited to Kennedy's birthday party at Chick-fil-A three separate times within a short span of time. He truly wanted her to take part in the annual celebration and eat some chicken sandwiches.
In order to make this appearance at the birthday party, Nicora would have to drive overnight from Minnesota and only get a precious few minutes of sleep in 15-minute increments. Energy drinks would also be required to make this trip successful.
As she explained, Nicora was very tired, but this trip to visit Radio on his birthday was completely worth it. He may not have remembered her after a few days, but she knew that showing up and accepting his invitation would validate his worth.