Local athlete makes Rose Bowl trip 2 decades after he died - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Local athlete makes Rose Bowl trip 2 decades after he died

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Carolyn Fletcher holds up her son Jerrel Fletcher's jersey. (WFSB photo) Carolyn Fletcher holds up her son Jerrel Fletcher's jersey. (WFSB photo)
WEST HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -

It's something many athletes dream about.

It's a trip to California in January for the Rose Bowl and the Tournament of Roses Parade.

Jerrel Fletcher will be making that trip nearly two decades after he died.

"One of the things I struggle with the most now is I know what Jerrel would look like, what he would have doing now," said Carolyn Fletcher, Jerrel Fletcher's mother.

Jerrel Fletcher was killed in a car crash in 1998. However, part of him still lives on in five people, thanks to the gift of organ donation.

"I remember seeing his heart beating so fast through his chest and said it's the right decision to do," Carolyn Fletcher said.

Nearly two decades later, the three-sport star athlete is being remembered, along with his parents' generosity being honored.

A float will participate in the Tournament of Roses Parade, sponsored by Donate Life America.

"It's such an honor to be here today to have Jerrel's legacy and life displayed in this fashion," Carolyn Fletcher said.

Tom Marcucci was Jerrel Fletcher's football coach at Notre Dame High School in West Haven. He said he still has Jerrel Fletcher's picture hanging on his wall.

Marcucci, as well as some of Jerrel Fletcher's former teammates, were on hand for Tuesday's announcement.

"I've been at Notre Dame High School for 47 years and it's easy to say this was a wonderful kid, he was that person, kind of a shining light," Marcucci said. "Everyday I look at his picture and i think of him."

More than 120,000 people are on the National Organ Transplant Registry, waiting for an organ. One organ donor can save up to 50 lives, according to doctors.

"We got to meet his heart recipient, which we stay in contact through social media and its just a phenomenal thing," Carolyn Fletcher said.

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