BELLE GLADE — Youth boxers from five different counties came to the First Baptist Church gymnasium in Belle Glade to compete in the Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics boxing tournament. There was electricity in the air as an enthusiastic Glades community from the tri-city area filled the arena to see their boxers compete.
Two of Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office PAL boxers competed in the event. Pahokee’s Albert Jenkins who is a 16 year old boxer from Glades Central High School boxed in the 124 lbs. weight class won a unanimous decision against Pedro Calibera from Port St. Lucie. Jenkins dominated all 3 rounds enroute to his action packed decision win. Jenkins loves the sport of boxing and has been a member of the Sheriff’s PAL program for more than a year.
In addition, Belle Glade’s Rodney J. Morris who is a 16 year old student at Pahokee High School had his first boxing match against Gabriel Garcia 16 from Miami Dade. Morris completely out boxed Garcia by landing stiff left jabs followed by hard right hands showing superior hand speed and power. The referee gave Garcia several standing 8 counts and stopped the contest in the second round due to Morris total domination of his opponent.
Youth Pastor Darryl Persons is interested in expanding the youth ministry at First Baptist Church, and graciously opened his facility to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office to host the Junior Olympics at the church gymnasium. Pastor Persons is pleased to partner with PBSO in their youth outreach programs.
Deputy Mike LeStrange (aka) “Coach Mike” has been coaching Glades area youths in the sport of boxing since 1999 for the PBSO Police Athletic League. Many youths have found boxing as an alternative sport to this community’s love for football. According to LeStrange, when kids are in a PAL program, they are under the constructive influence of Law Enforcement Officers and are held to a high standard of law abiding behavior. The kids in the program must respond to adults as sir and ma’am, and must never partake in destructive things such as using drugs, alcohol, or tobacco. In addition, gang membership is totally prohibited.
Both LeStrange and his partner Deputy Kenny Torrence (aka) “Coach T” operate out of the Boy’s and Girl’s Club located at 1101 Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd. Belle Glade. Torrence is a life-long resident of Belle Glade and is responsible for developing diverse sports and academics programs for Glades youths. It was Torrence’s idea to bring the Junior Olympics to Belle Glade and have the Police Athletic League sponsor it. First Baptist collaborated with PBSO and gave the community an excellent venue to watch the talent of our competing youth athletes.
For further information regarding the PAL program call Deputy Torrence at 561-996-1670.