Chad Murphy loved to throw left jabs and right hooks in the ring while smacking heavy bags and reeling off crunches at the Vernon Amateur Boxing Club.
It was like a second home for Murphy, whose big heart, charisma, determination and contagious smile were always welcome underneath the Priest Valley Gym.
“Chad started coming here when he was 13,” said head coach Brian Jones. “He was a go-getter and a super competitor. He was very conscientious and a very hard worker. He was also fit and fearless in a very competitive sport. He loved boxing.”
Renovations and new gloves and protective gear are on the boxing club’s summer budget list, in Murphy’s memory. Chad, who also loved soccer, died Jan. 27 in Vancouver, where he had just started a job as a deck hand on a tugboat. He was 28.
His parents, Al and Sandra, and Chad’s twin brother, Clayton, presented a cheque for $5,693 to the club Tuesday night, representing money raised through fundraising in Chad’s name.
An attractive plaque, containing a photo of Chad and coach Jones at a 2009 Peachland card where they met Canadian legend George Chuvalo, along with a touching poem written by Al and Sandra, was also given to Jones.
“Chad loved being at the Vernon Amateur Boxing Club and willingly helped and supported the younger kids,” said Al. “Chad’s memorial plaque will hang proudly at the club so Chad’s spirit will always be dancing in the ring.”
Al’s close Camels soccer friends, Jim Mottus and Johnny Olenick, started the memorial fund, while Akbal Mund organized a men’s Monday night oldtimers soccer barbecue which raised $1,185. Yogi Kongsdorf of Schneider’s Meats donated all the food.
The Funtastic Sports Society donated $1,040, while Roland House, who designed the plaque, and Discovery Glass, each pitched in $500.
“So many other friends and family also donated and we thank them all so much,” said Sandra.
Jones, who has coached at the gym since 1985, remembers Murphy idolizing older boxer Blair Todd, a highly successful and dedicated fighter,
“Blair was super motivated and was here seven days a week. He (Chad) loved sparring with Blair.”
The money comes at a very opportune time for the club, which will close for upgrades in August.
“The last time we bought gloves was in ‘92. Now we can buy 200 pair of bag gloves, sparring gloves, head gear and some skipping ropes. We also need four ropes because we only have three so the ring isn’t regulation. What we’re lacking is program. We want to get enough money to pay the rent and let the kids under 14 in for free.”
Added Al Murphy: “It feels nice to be able to give back to the club which is very instrumental in the growth of our youth, teaching them honour, respect, discipline, loyalty, integrity and confidence. We must give thanks to the coaches Brian Jones, Ross Scott and Leanne Cadden, who volunteer their time at the club, and we must not forget the late, great Don MacDonald, who volunteered for decades.”
Al and Sandra, who live in Oyama, wrote the words on the plaque which includes phrases like: “May you dance in the ring and be light on your feet….At the end of the day when all has been done, work for tomorrow and make sure you have fun.”
The boxing club re-opens in September with regular training sessions Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5-8:30 p.m. and Saturdays from noon-2 p.m.
Monthly fees are $30 with drop-in $5. Jones may be reached at 250-545-8853.