By: Leah Uko
OMAHA (KPTM) - A local boxing club is getting back in the ring after thieves gave it a bit of a punch to the gut.
There wasn't a single spot to park in on 30th and R streets in south Omaha Sunday. People packed the block to support the Victory Boxing Club after its air conditioner units were stolen--twice.
Individuals paid $5 and families paid $15 to attend the club's "Chili Feed" fundraiser.
"I used to take from the community as opposed to being an asset to give back. And for the last three years I've been sober," Keith Motter said. "By the grace of God, and I'm doing my part to give back to the community."
Motter brought his two kids. He wanted to support the club's co-founder, Reverend Servando Perales.
"It's sad. It really is because he goes above and beyond what normal people do in the community," Motter said.
Organizations and anonymous donors wrote checks as much at $5,000. From those donations, so far, the club has received more than $7,000 total. Rev. Perales wanted to focus on this success and not dwell on the past robberies.
"I know where they're at. I know mentally where they're at," Rev. Perales continued. "They're not in their right state of mind. I've been there. God delivered me from meth. I've been to prison."
Along with the money donated, co-founder John Determan said three different air conditioning companies offered free labor, parts and air conditioner units.
"They know that we're making a difference in our community working with our youth and trying to change that vicious cycle as these kids grow up--that they're not doing the things that are going on today," Determan said.
Determan and Rev. Perales didn't feel any anger toward whoever stole the units.
"I forgive you," Rev. Perales continued. "Regardless of what drug you're addicted to, whatever you're trying to search for in all the wrong places. God is love. You're searching really, ultimately what it boils down to, you're searching for love you're just searching in all the wrong places."
Although they forgave the theft situation, they will not forget about it.
Victory Boxing Club raised $2,000 from Sunday's "Chili Feed" - bringing the total to more than $9,000.
Determan said the club will use some of that money on installing a new security system.