Meet Pacelli High School's Biggest Fan - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Meet Pacelli High School's Biggest Fan

He's not on the faculty, but every student knows him by name. Doctor John Henderson has been Pacelli's team doctor for 25 years, but he's probably more well-known for his sideline antics. Wearing a Viking helmet, sword, and shield, he prances through the stands cheering his team to victory.

"This might be my 5th or 6th Viking hat. When you're a Viking, you're a Viking forever. It doesn't stop. It just doesn't stop," Dr. Henderson said as he placed his plastic Viking helmet on his head.

Doctor Henderson's love for all things Pacelli is deeper than just sports. His son, Private John Henderson Junior, played football for Pacelli before joining the Army to support Operation Enduring Freedom. He was killed in Afghanistan in August 2005.

"And one night up in the mountains, John was on a combat mission and didn't make it. And his buddies, actually another Pacelli Viking, found John, a kid that played football with him here," Henderson said.

After his death, John's family set up a scholarship in his name to help other Pacelli students.

"They have to have the Viking spirit, which isn't the smartest kid. It isn't the most athletic kid, it's a nice kid who's willing to bust their butt," Dr. Henderson explained.

To date, more than fifty-thousand dollars has been donated to the Private John M. Henderson Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund. David Miller, a Pacelli senior, was one of the first recipients.

"It really means a lot to me that he would give me this scholarship that is in honor of his son who died for our freedom, basically," Miller said.

It's students like David Miller that make Doctor Henderson proud to be a Viking. And tonight, he just wants to see his favorite team beat Brookstone.

"You have to be sedate and politically correct all week long, but on November 9th, it's go-time," Dr. Henderson said.

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