Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office Holds 4th Annual CTLT Football Camp

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By JAYNE THURBER-SMITH

Chesapeake Sheriff Jim O'Sullivan (L) and  Indian River H.S. football coach Cadillac Harris.(R)

Chesapeake Sheriff Jim O’Sullivan (L) and Indian River H.S. football coach Cadillac Harris.(R)

Although the weatherman warned otherwise, the rain held off for all three days of the Sheriff’s Office Football Camp from Thursday, June 20th, to Saturday, the 22nd. From the looks of the scrimmage held on the final morning, the participants had perfected many skills in a short period of time.

“I am excited to bring this football camp to the youth of Chesapeake as part of the Children Today Leaders Tomorrow program,” said Jim O’Sullivan, Chesapeake Sheriff and Founder of CTLT. “It’s good to get the kids off the Gameboys and Facebook and get them outside to be productive.”

This free football camp provided for Chesapeake Middle School children helps them learn fundamental football skills for the purpose of instilling within them a desire to succeed in life. Several of Chesapeake’s High School and Middle School football coaches, normally rivals, put aside their various team loyalties and volunteered to work together with these young people. They offered advice, friendship and helpful encouragement. They were also joined by many other volunteers, including some pro football players who have been where these middle-schoolers hope to go.

Sheriff O'Sullivan talking with the boys.

Sheriff O’Sullivan talking with the boys.

Darren Perry came and helped out. He had played for various NFL teams and is now the Green Bay Packers Safeties Coach. Also volunteering their expertise were former Seattle Seahawk Kenny Easley and former San Francisco 49er Ed Beard. All three are Chesapeake natives and glad to give back.

“Everything went great,” Beard commented with a big grin. “Occasionally it looked like it might rain but the sun always reappeared. This was a lot of fun – I may be 73 but these kids make me feel young!”

It may surprise those who know Beard’s story to see him helping out with any youth program. Less than two years ago, he was riding his bicycle and stopped to try to help a person he saw being beaten up by a gang of teenagers. Sadly they attacked him also and he suffered a concussion, cuts and bruises. When asked if he was tempted to abandon helping out with youth groups as he had previously done, he shakes his head vehemently.

“Absolutely not,” he says. “An event like this plays a big part in my positive attitude because I get to talk to some great kids with great attitudes. I say very openly that the biggest hurt from that event was psychological; it’s shocking that a bunch of kids thought that was an alright thing to do, that there are no consequences. Some of them are finding out now that there are always consequences.”

The football camp ended with award ceremonies on Saturday, during which Mayor Alan Krasnoff thanked all the mentors and volunteers for being there.

Football camp kids Campers work on conditioning /stretching exercises

Football camp kids
Campers work on conditioning /stretching exercises

“They took your wonderful children and found the talents hidden inside them,” he announced to the proud parents. “They can now take the lessons of football and apply them to life.”

One special award was given to Sheriff O’Sullivan’s young assistant, 16-year-old LeSean Bruce. He had volunteered last year at which time he earned the title Jr. Deputy; this year he was promoted to Jr. Sergeant.

“I like helping out,” LeSean said. “It’s hard work but worth it.”

His proud family beamed from the sidelines.

“LeSean was born 5 months premature,” his dad Frederick Bruce comments, “and had to spend that many months in the hospital. The day we were able to finally take him home was his actual due date.”

“He’s a miracle child,” says his mom Kimberly, beaming. “And our Sheriff is a real hero. He is always letting LeSean help out when needed. He checks up on LeSean all the time, making sure he’s okay and doing well in school.”

The award ceremonies ended up with a big thanks to the event sponsor, Signature Pools. Then the hungry, hard-working athletes and leaders of tomorrow were served a delicious, well-earned lunch.

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