Former T.L. Hanna Football Coach Harold Jones remembers Radio

Former T.L. Hanna Football Coach Harold Jones remembers Radio. (Courtesy- T.L. Hanna High School)

ANDERSON COUNTY, SC (FOX Carolina) Just off Railroad Street in Anderson sits an empty lot, but it's one filled with love-- Just ask Bill West.

“The man has taught us all a great deal about how to deal with and love our fellow man," West said.

His son attended T.L. Hanna High School where he met James "Radio" Kennedy.

“I loved seeing the guy around town," West said.

Now, the guy who hung around Anderson County, is gone.

“I know it will be a lasting impact," West said.

The area near Railroad Street is where it all started, not too far from that empty lot where Radio's home once stood before a fire destroyed it.

“When I first met him he was 16 years old, that was in 64," Former T.L. Hanna football coach Harold Jones said.

Jones first saw Radio during a J.V. football practice just around the corner from Railroad Street. Radio attended the practice and never left Jones' side-- or his heart.

“We didn’t think a thing about racial things," Jones said.

Jones says although Radio had a mental disability, he deserved respect.

“He’s taught us so much love, you know, and happiness," Jones said.

Through the years their bond grew and when T.L. Hanna integrated in 1970, Radio became a part of the family. Later, in 2003, movie executives called and Cuba Gooding, Jr. starred as Radio.

“The movie, you now got out I think, to help people with special needs everywhere," Jones said.

However, Radio battled diabetes, kidney disease, and pancreatitis. He recently became very sick and doctors admitted him to the Intensive Care Unit.

"He came out of ICU and the doctor said you know, we’ve done everything we could," Jones said. “Radio always told me, he said, 'My momma’s up in heaven and I’m going to be there- go up and see her one day'.”

Jones says he knows that's where Radio is: in heaven.

“It’s like losing a family member and it’s tough, we’ll never forget him," Jones said.

And neither will West, who carries a business card Radio once gave him. It's a reminder of the biggest job ever- to love.

MORE: "He will be truly missed." Beloved Upstate icon James "Radio" Kennedy passes away

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