Gerald Lee, a longtime Copperas Cove resident organized and hosted an inaugural event this past Saturday to give children an opportunity to have fun in a safe environment.

The event, known as Summer Slam/Field Day, provided activities such as go-cart racing, swimming, football, a splash pad, a play ground, and other various activities for the children to engage in. The kids and teens were having fun, especially being in the water on a hot day.

“In an effort to reach out to the youth in our local community, my associate Tamara Goodwin and I organized this event with the purpose of providing a safe, fun environment for the children in our community, and help them engage in recreational activities to kick-start their summer vacation.”

Lee intends to use a portion of the proceeds from this event to start a nonprofit organization with the same vision: helping children in our local community to succeed. His nonprofit organization will be called “Books over Bars.”

The organization will have a strong focus on encouraging the youth in our community to make good life choices, to avoid having to learn from their own mistakes, and instead to learn from his, Lee explained.

“I just want to give back to the community and living by the old adage that ‘it takes a community to raise a child,’ and so that is basically why I came up with this event,” Lee said. “I just wanted to create a fun event for kids, so that they can be a part of something positive ... I am just trying to get the community to believe in me.”

Goodwin, Lee’s business partner for the event, said, “We both grew up here, we are both Army brats, and we just want to give back to our community. This is our first of hopefully many events.

“Currently we are trying to start a non-profit for the youth but we have not gotten it off the ground yet, this is are first fundraising event, and there will be more.”

Joce Larkin brought her three kids Summer/Slam/Field day. She is friends Lee because her sister graduated with him in 1999 from Copperas Cove High School. She also came to help support her brother-in-law’s cookie sales.

P.J. Kelly came to help support the event and also had an opportunity to sell four different kinds of cookies for his company, the Sublime Cookie Company.

Lee has lived in Copperas Cove for most of his life, however, for 16 years of his life, he was incarcerated for going down the wrong path. Now, Lee has been out of prison for a little over two years. A few months after his release he found a job hauling asphalt for a trucking company and delivers to various places in Texas.

In February 2019, he came back home to Copperas Cove where he began his mission of wanting to help the younger generation of our community succeed.

“I returned home changed from my past mistakes, and was ready to make a difference in our local community,” Lee said.

He wrote about his struggles as a youth and his devotion to helping others to not follow the same path in his book “Finding Purpose,” which was published in February 2020 is available for purchase on Amazon.

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