“GLOVES UP, GUNS DOWN” at Newburgh Hook Elite Boxing
By Edie Johnson
Boxing Team Works Hard, Is Getting a Trip to Ireland
A group of young people are getting just what they wanted, and then some, after joining the Armory Unity Center’s Rec program for boxing.
After a couple of thoughtful and talented coaches pondered “What might be the best alternative for young boys and girls who think they might like to fight, they developed a program at Newburgh Armory that that gives them boxing gloves, but with a string of conditions. Between boxing matches the team does ministry work at Ebeneezer Baptist Church. Their coach, Leonard Lee, helps them with not only boxing but prayers, and is also VP of Youth Sports Ministries at the church. He says he has seen a lot of kids find purpose, especially when after a good match he brings them to the church where they learn which of the church members are in need of help. They get assignments for yard work and other chores for members. Before they leave for a boxing match, they pray.
They are excelling in their boxing skills, as is shown in the photo of three young members on their way to Regional Finals last year.
Trip to Ireland In the Works
At Saturday’s Armory Fall Event highlighting the season’s activities, it was apparently mentioned to philanthropist Bill Kaplan, who has been instrumental in all of the developing Armory activities, that the boxing team would likely miss an International Match in Ireland due to lack of funds. Newburgh Mayor Torrence Harvey announced that when Kaplan heard of the problem he immediately stepped up to make sure the trip will happen. Harvey said “I made a request for one of our great citizens in Newburgh to pay their way.. and he did that..for our inner city kids… these young men and women couldn’t afford to go.. so, Thank you Mr. Kaplan!!!! You didn’t have to do that.. but you did!!
Lee said that he hopes that their group will grow to participate in the International Boxing Youth Series which includes 7 countries. This, he said “Is a start to return the favor of two boxing bouts that Ireland traveled all the way to Newburgh to participate in”.
The team is planning an additional fundraiser to help pay for the travel costs It will be held at the Armory Unity Center on October 28. Stay tuned for details.