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Manatee County will Celebrate Tonja Brown McKinney on September 2


BRADENTON -- There is always a tale that follows those around who were born during a hurricane, and it usually has a little fast and furious in the story to salt and pepper it up. So is the case with Tonja Brown McKinney. She was born at Manatee Memorial Hospital to Nathaniel and Lorine Brown during Hurricane Donna, on September 5, 1960, at 7:19 pm. They knew how very special she was from the start, but the rest of the country would have to wait a few years.  


It was when she attended Southeast High School and joined the track and field team that coaches started getting a glimpse of her speed in the intermediate hurdles, high jump, long jump and relay races. She received a scholarship to attend Florida State University. At FSU, McKinney competed in the 100-meter high hurdles, 400-yard dash, 400-meter intermediate 440-yard dash, 60- yard high hurdles, 600 yard run and the long jump. 

Never strange to first place, among her victories were at the NCAA Outdoor Championship in the 400 intermediate hurdles. To date, her record in the 400 intermediate hurdles is third in the U.S. and fifth in the world. She was inducted into the Florida State University Athletics Hall of Fame. 

Now the sports fans of Manatee County get to celibrate Tonja Brown McKinney Day on September 2, 2011. The Manatee County Commissioners voted that day in honor of McKinney's accomplishments. The room was certainly full of love when she received the proclamation, with her family and friends savoring the moment too. We all can be proud of her, and happy that she is a member of our community. Congratulations Tonja. 


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