DeForest Buckner didn’t attend Waianae High, but he is a Waianae boy and he cares deeply about his roots.
Buckner, the former Punahou and Oregon football star and now a defensive lineman for the San Francisco 49ers, made good on his pledge of $10,000 in Nike athletic apparel to the Waianae volleyball teams.
The teams received the goods last month at the school gym from Buckner’s mom Maria Toilolo-Buckner, who lives in Waianae with husband George Buckner.
DeForest Buckner made the pledge last year, when Thia Palakiko was the Waianae girls head coach. Palakiko and Toilolo-Buckner played middle for the Seariders under coach Dan Kitashima before they graduated in 1984.
Kitashima is back at the helm of the Waianae squad this season, with Palakiko (who went on to play for the University of Hawaii and UH Hilo while Toilolo played for Hawaii Pacific) taking a break.
The Nike apparel is for the girls as well as the boys volleyball teams. It includes sweat pants and tops, tights for games and practices, socks, bags and warmup jerseys.
“His heart is for Waianae,” Palakiko said about DeForest Buckner. “His whole family is from here. He is very generous and very humble and he’s always for the kids. Him and the mom. That’s who he learned it from. She has always been a giving person, trying to take care of others.”