COMANCHE, Okla. (TNN) - Friday, a Comanche Police Officer giving underprivileged children free mixed martial arts classes received a $10,000 donation to help further his cause.
For the last two years, Keith Hampton has spent his downtime giving mixed martial arts lessons to kids.
“We all have struggles in our lives so to help with those we offer this class free of charge to economically disadvantaged, at-risk and children in the foster care system, children who can’t afford to train at another dojo or martial arts school can come here,” Hampton said.
Those lessons are much more than just punches and kicks.
“We don’t just teach striking and Jiu-Jitsu and martial arts, it’s not just about physical fitness. Everything in martial arts is about balance, that’s why we train the spirit as well as the body,” Hampton said.
Hampton has worked as a police officer in Comanche for the last 12 years and sees these classes as a part of his work.
“When I became a police officer, I took an oath. Part of that oath is we will protect the weak and defend the innocent. There’s no one more weak or innocent than our young people, our children. Fulfilling that oath is not just about making arrests, it’s about mentoring, helping our young people to make the right choices, not just showing up and throwing cuffs on them when they don’t,” Hampton said.
Recently, Comanche Masonic Lodge #41 heard about what Hampton was doing and wanted to help.
“At one meeting we had him come down and describe what he was doing and what all he was having to go through. We had started talking about possibly doing a fundraiser and matching like $1,000. Well after he left, we started talking about it and the lodge says no, let’s up that. Let’s match $5,000,” said William Greer.
Friday, the lodge presented Hampton with a $10,000 check, with much of the money coming from the community thanks to a spaghetti dinner. That money will be used to buy new equipment for the kids and also help grow the program.
“I didn’t know if we would ever get to this point. We hope to have a scholarship program, probably sooner rather than later, that way children in other areas, other counties, we can sponsor them to go to martial arts schools that have our values,” Hampton said.
You can learn more about the program by finding Warrior Journey Martial Arts on Facebook. Comanche Masonic Lodge #41 works to help groups in the Comanche community -- and they are looking for new, younger members to get involved and help out in the future.