Salisbury Community Gives Back to Legendary Boxing Coach Hal Chernoff
On Wednesday, Caliber Collision, GEICO and Pohanka Automotive Group of Salisbury surprised Chernoff with keys to a completely refurbished, practically brand-new 2014 Nissan Rogue for his passion and selfless dedication to Salisbury's youth.
"I was shocked that I was so emotional, because I don't usually cry," said Hal's wife Nancy Chernoff. "Everybody coming together and doing this for him is such a great thing, and it's something that he needed very much."
Before Wednesday, Chernoff was driving an old Nissan Sentra with nearly 400,000 miles on it. He says he used the car to pick up and transport kids he mentors at his gym in Salisbury, Main Street Boxing Gym.
"Anything from picking them up, taking them to the gym, dropping them off after the gym, taking them to tournaments, taking them to work, I mean anything they need I try to be there for them," said Chernoff.
"There's kids that come here and box who he drives home every night, and not on the way to his house, it's not like a convenient thing, like he will go out of his way to pick them up so they can train here or take them home so they can train here, and he does look after a lot of kids like a father-type figure," said Matt McMurdo, trainee.
Chernoff began mentoring youths more than 26 years ago. He is nationally renowned for mentoring and training youths who have gone on to win national and world championships.
"This is the only thing that I do that I think when my time is all over, I'll feel like I've accomplished something real. I don't think anybody's gravestone talks about how much money they made or how many buildings they built, but I think that when you touch somebody's life you're doing something probably as important as can be done," said Chernoff.
MMA fighter and trainee Michael Meibaum began training at Main Street Boxing Gym six months ago. To him, Chernoff is more than just a coach.
"All the kids look up to him. He does a lot for the community around here, I mean, I heard about him 10 years ago doing stuff for kids. I even bring my own son here," said Meibaum.
9-year-old Gavin Brown says he's been training at Main Street Boxing Grym for almost four years. He says Chernoff is his role model.
"He doesn't do little kid things. He teaches us not to be scared and stuff," said Brown.
8-year-old Jayden Turner says he's been training at Main Street Boxing Gym for about eight months. He says he likes Chernoff because of everything he teaches them. Turner also says he can't wait for Chernoff to take him to a tournament in his new car.