Hundreds gather to celebrate life of Rodney Thomas - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Hundreds gather to celebrate life of Rodney Thomas

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Source: KTRE staff Source: KTRE staff
Source: KTRE staff Source: KTRE staff
Source: KTRE staff Source: KTRE staff
Source: KTRE staff Source: KTRE staff

More than a thousand family members and friends of Rodney Thomas filled the high school gym in Groveton to remember the East Texas legend on Friday.

"Well done my good and faithful servant, because that's what He said to our Rodney Thomas," said Thomas' brother, Darell Williams.

Thomas made a name for himself on the field. However, friends and family say he made his biggest impact came off the field, which is why it is easy to understand why over a thousand people packed the Groveton gym to remember a man that they say was taken too soon.

Former Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum said all week he has received messages from those affected by the running back, including former Aggies and Green Bay Packers head coach Mike Sherman.

"Although Rodney Thomas will always be recognized as one of the best players who ever stepped on Kyle Field, I think it would give his legacy a disservice," Slocum said while reading a statement from Sherman. "His legacy of a husband, a father, a brother, a son, and a friend will last long past his accomplishments on the field."

Story after story was read, but the most touching was from his brother, who recalled when Rodney put his own money into a vending machine that gave other players free drinks.

"I would have known not to take stuff out of the machine, but Rodney had something inside him that would make him think, 'Why don't I go and refill that because they are going to mess up someone else's business?" Williams said. "That was Rodney Thomas."

Williams made one final, heartfelt request.

"You share those stories. You make that legend because he is a legend," Williams said. "It hurts that he went to be with the Lord, but Rodney Thomas touched so many lives that he is going to live on here on earth."

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