Pictured from left: father Jean, aunt Elimina, Mackensie, and mother Marie. The Collier County Commissioners stand behind the family. (Submitted photo/Courtesy of Collier County)
The Collier County Board of County Commissioners proclaimed Tuesday, June 28, as Mackensie Alexander Day in Collier County, honoring the former Immokalee High School football player for his perseverance and achieving his dreams to be drafted into the NFL. Alexander is the son of Haitian immigrants, Jean and Marie Alexander, who left Haiti in 1980 for a better life. They settled in Immokalee, picking oranges and tomatoes in the fields. At age 10, Alexander and his twin brother joined them. Knowing football was a way out of the fields, Alexander became a stand out at Immokalee High School as a defensive back. His performance at the U.S. Army National Combine in January 2012 made him one of the nation’s top recruits. He chose to attend Clemson University in South Carolina, where his speed and talent and work ethic did not go unnoticed. In his last 23 games at Clemson, he did not allow a single touchdown. At the end of his sophomore year, he declared early for the NFL draft and was chosen as the 54th pick in the second round. He will play this season as a member of the Minnesota Vikings. But getting drafted into the NFL has not made him forget where he came from. Recently, Alexander, along with Adidas, donated $10,000 worth of athletic equipment to the Boys & Girls Club of Collier County. The Board of County Commissioners chose to honor Alexander for demonstrating fortitude, determination, passion and perseverance and overcoming challenges to achieve his dreams “against all odds.” “Mackensie Alexander is someone who has overcome great challenges that most of us have not faced and is someone who, in spite of his circumstances, has excelled and given back to his community against all odds,” said Commissioner Penny Taylor.