McVEYTOWN - He wasn't sure he could pull it off when his grandson said he wanted to hang out with Penn State linebacker Gerald Hodges on his ninth birthday, but Gwin Brower made it happen.
Brower said Hodges had been stopping by his family's tailgate for the last two years and his grandson - Eli Pennebaker - enjoyed throwing the football around with Hodges.
"We got to meet him and his family, he is really a nice young man ... over the last two years he became Eli's favorite player," Brower said.
Penn State linebacker Gerald Hodges, right, suprises 9-year-old Eli Pennebaker Friday on his ninth birthday.
Brower said for about a month all his grandson said he wanted for his birthday was for Hodges to come to church with him and hang out for a bit.
Brower said he tracked down Hodges, who was very agreeable to the idea.
Brower went and picked up Hodges in State College and drove him back to Mifflin County for church on Sunday.
"Eli was totally surprised, he spotted Hodges, shook his hand and gave him a hug," Brower said.
Eli patiently waited after church as Hodges graciously signed autographs and posed for photos with people, Brower said.
Brower said after church they took Hodges to J.P. Edwards in Burnham for lunch and took some more photographs and hung out a while longer before taking him back over the mountain to Penn State.
"It's great to see young men like this take the extra mile and be willing to do those little special things for other people," Brower said.