Louisiana community honors Kansas City Chiefs great Joe Delaney with monument
A new monument in Chennault Park was unveiled honoring former Kansas City running back Joe Delaney on Saturday.
The Haughton native died in a nearby pond while trying to save three boys from drowning in 1983. Only one of the boys survived.
“He jumped in that pond to save some children who were drowning, and he knew he couldn’t swim, but that didn’t matter to him. All he thought about was he was going to try to save those kids,” Marvin Dearman says.
In 1983, Dearman was a rescue diver for the Monroe Police Department. He says he’ll never forget that day. When the Kansas City Chiefs won Super Bowl LIV 37 years later, all he could think about was the running back who once wore no. 37 for the Chiefs.
“I woke up that morning, and I said, ‘you know what? It was 37 years ago that Joe Delaney drowned. Kansas City just won the Super Bowl on the 37th anniversary of his death, and Joe Delaney wore jersey no. 37.’”
So Dearman, with the help of many others, made sure to honor Joe Delaney with a monument to remember the man they knew and loved.
“He didn’t like being honored, but we would always honor him. He wasn’t the type of person to be in the limelight,” Joe’s late wife, Carolyn Delaney says.
Carolyn says seeing the love and support from past friends, coaches and others make her even prouder of the man her husband was. “Joe was a person that would give his shirt off his back to you. He was a kindhearted person. He was also helping out people, and he didn’t worry about Joe himself. He just worried about making the people around him happy,” she says.
Carolyn says this is the first time the family has been back to the place Joe gave his life to try to save those young men. Now, she can come back and tell his story.
“We can come back and we have a place that I can bring the kids, the grands and the great grands to see the monument honoring Joe.”
“He died a hero, and there’s a story about him that will live on forever,” Dearman says.
Joe Delaney received many awards for his athletic play and heroic effort. He was also posthumously awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Ronald Reagan.