More than 1,000 attend A&M player’s funeral
COLLEYVILLE, Texas (AP) — More than 1,000 people, including players from the Texas A&M football team, attended Saturday’s funeral of a teammate who died in a car accident in New Mexico.
The service for 19-year-old Polo Manukainiu (mah-NOO’-ky-uh-noo), a redshirt freshman at A&M last season, was held at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Fort Worth suburb of Colleyville. The service also memorialized Manukainiu’s 13-year-old brother Andrew “Lolo” Uhatafe (oo-HAH’-tah-fay), an incoming high school freshman killed in the accident.
Manukainiu, a defensive lineman, had played for Trinity High School in nearby Euless.
The brothers and another teen died July 29 when their vehicle rolled as they were driving from Utah to Texas. Utah recruit Gaius “Keio” Vaenuku (GYE’-uhs vah-eh-NOO’-koo), 18, was Manukainiu’s former Trinty teammate.
The three were from Euless’ tight-knit Tongan community. Saturday’s service was conducted in both English and Tongan. Family members wore a traditional skirt called a ta’ovala to pay their respects to the brothers and their culture.
Tupou Taufa, a cousin of the brothers, said it was very touching that the A&M players showed up to pay their respects.