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'More Than Just a Cleat': Alohi Gilman Gives Back to His Hometown

Alohi_Cleats

Chargers safety Alohi Gilman was one of the constants in the Los Angeles community during his rookie season.

Early in 2021, he's extended that generosity to his hometown.

Gilman donated 200 pairs of cleats to young athletes in Laie, Hawaii last Wednesday through his family's foundation Ho'omana Lifestyle. The idea was sparked when he saw a basket of cleats at Hoag Performance Center that were tossed aside.

"As a kid where I grew up, I was raised where I only had one pair of cleats and you'd wear it until it has holes in them," Gilman said. "So, I immediately thought of my community and thought it'd be a great way at the end of the year to give them something."

The Chargers, who have their own cleat donation program, packed and shipped the cleats to Hawaii for Gilman.

"One of the cool resources that comes with an NFL team is a lot of football players and a lot of cleats," said Chase Hartman, the Chargers' community relations manager. "And sometimes those guys change out cleats every one or two games, so we want to make sure that none of those [go to waste]."

Gilman described Laie as a tight-knit community that goes by the saying, "the village raised the child." He said it's home to several talented athletes who play all sports.

Now in the NFL, Gilman is able to pay it forward to the next generation. He said he saw and talked to kids at last week's giveaway whose cleats had holes or were duck taped.

It wasn't too long ago that Gilman was in those same shoes.

"It's crazy how things come full circle because when I was young, I looked to different guys," Gilman said. "I looked at Manti Te'o, former San Diego Charger at the time. He's from this hometown as well.

"Seeing these types of different people coming in and out of our community, and just seeing how the kids get to come through and get something that's more than just a cleat to them. It meant more to them than just a cleat."

In his short time with the Chargers, Gilman, who attended Notre Dame and the Naval Academy, has used his platform as a professional to impact others. Last November, he spoke to Gold Star Military Families based in Southern California via Zoom. Gilman also filmed a message in support of LA Fleet Week, which takes place each year over Labor Day Weekend.

He hopes his latest act of kindness helps the youth in Laie to dream big.

"Being raised in a small-town community all the way in the middle of the Pacific, this helped open up their vision of what they can do in their lives," Gilman said. "So, I hope it was a small inspiration to some of these kids, being able to motivate them especially in such a tough time right now."

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