• November 26, 2014

Breaking boards for Fisher House

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Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 4:30 am

Students of a local martial arts academy raised $5,500 for the Fort Hood Fisher House doing what they do best — breaking boards.

About 60 kids ages 6 to 15 from Hamm’s Institute of Martial Arts in Killeen participated in a break-a-thon May 10 at Long Branch Park to raise money and demonstrate their talents to the community.

“It was really fun, but sometimes I get really nervous,” said Nathan McCray III, a member of the institute’s Team Hazard demonstration team. The 12-year-old said his favorite part of the event was the demonstration involving old and younger members of the martial arts school.

The public came out to the park to watch the demonstration and even donate to try and break boards themselves. A small carnival was set up for kids.

Danny Wigfall, 14, said it was a fun way to give back to charity.

“It was pretty awesome helping people. I’m helping through something I love,” he said. “I really liked when we got to do the demonstration and show off. That’s what people came to see.”

Nathan said he also enjoyed learning about the Fisher House, a nonprofit that provides a “home away from home” for military personnel, veterans and their families during a medical crisis.

“I think it’s really cool what they do,” Nathan said.

This is the fourth year the martial arts school hosted a break-a-thon. Each time the proceeds are divided in half between supplementing the cost of lessons and a charity. The Fisher House was the first local charity selected by the school, said Chris Hamm, owner and instructor.

“The whole reason we decided to do this in the first place was to bring the kids together and show them how to be leaders in the community,” Hamm said.

Theresa Johnson, director of the local Fisher House, said getting the community involved in their mission is vital to their success.

“They not only donated funds, but they made a connection,” she said. “For us to work with the community is important ... because the kids learned about the Fisher House and selected us.”

In the future, Johnson said she hopes to be able to show the kids some tangible results of their donation.

This year’s fundraiser was also unique, Hamm said, because the school hosted it as it’s own independent event. In the past, the break-a-thon was tagged onto something else, such as the Celebrate Killeen Festival.

“It’s always about the kids and I’m really proud of the things they’ve accomplished,” Hamm said.

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