DANVILLE, AL. (WHNT) — A symbolic tree honoring Alabama native and four-time Olympic medalist Jesse Owens was planted in Danville on Thursday.

Owens, an American track and field athlete, won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin — becoming the first American in history to do so.

Much of Owens’ memorabilia lies in Oakville. Now, there’s an oak sapling among the accolades and historic items — and it’s a descendant of Owens’ award-winning tree.

Owens was born in Oakville, Ala. on September 12, 1913. He moved to Ohio where he would later become known as an Olympian.

“One of Jesse Owens’ favorite sayings was ‘You can’t eat a gold medal,’ and sadly, because of racism, Jesse Owens had to do things in the 1940s [and 50s] that would kind of be thought of as unspeakable for a four-time gold medal winner,” said John Kerezy, a professor of media and journalism studies at Cuyahoga Community College.

“His perseverance in that is a symbol for all Americans,” he continued.

While Owens became a symbol for many, his grandchildren only saw him as “grandpa.”

“My grandparents were there in case of an emergency, and so my granddad came to pick me up and so when he got there, there were like ‘Oh my gosh! It’s Jesse Owens!'” said Gena Hemphill Strong, Owens’ granddaughter. “He came and picked me up from school and took me home and could not believe that he had to pick me up because I got stuck in the mud.”

The tree planted Thursday was grown from the acorns of a tree given to Owens by the Olympic committee.

He planted that original tree at Rhodes High School, but it later died. An arborist named John Palmer had been collecting acorns from the tree in the hopes of replicating it. He says, for him, Jesse Owens is a torch bearer.

“Some people are torchbearers and they know they are torchbearers,” Palmer explained. “They just don’t know what’s coming behind them after they do that. Other people are torchbearers and they don’t realize it and I think maybe Jesse was like that.”

People in the area believe this is a unique Alabama treasure. No other museum is dedicated to the life and legacy of Jesse Owens.