Heron Mendez has been boxing since he was five years old. Though the disabled veteran has long since hung up his gloves, that hasn’t stopped him from helping others lace up.
Mendez runs Mendez Boxing in Springfield, Oregon. He hopes to use boxing as a tool to keep kids off the street.
“I think it’s better for them to do something constructive by coming and working out instead of out there, stealing your tires off your car or breaking into your home,” says Mendez.
While that may sound extreme, Mendez says he grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, and understands some of the temptations young men in poverty face. His fighters agree, saying Heron is the reason they strive to be their best.
Jorge Monray has been training with Mendez for five years.
“He’s kept me off the streets,” says Monray. “If I wasn’t boxing, I’d probably be out in the streets, fighting and doing whatnot, the bad stuff.”
Though on a fixed income, Mendez helps pay for the students’ gas, food and anything else to keep them in the gym.
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