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Natchez resident set to run for area youth

NATCHEZ — A literal dream has inspired a reality for Natchez resident Victor Smith to push himself to the limit for the community’s at-risk youth.

Smith recalls a recent dream about running from Natchez to Ferriday and used it to inspire a run he has planned for mid-July to help raise money for the Natchez Children’s Home and a boxing program he would like to start.

“In the dream, it was just me running,” Smith said. “I was at the convention center, and I heard someone call my name, and I started running. I got to Vidalia, and I heard someone else call my name, and I started running again. Next thing I know, I’m in Ferriday.”

Though he’s not planning to start his run at the same location in the dream, Smith said he plans to run from Natchez to Ferriday, beginning at Fat Mama’s Tamales and possibly ending at Performance Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram. He plans to ask local businesses to pledge $5 for each mile he runs. He stressed, however, that the $5 is not set in stone.

“Anything from the heart is welcomed,” Smith said. “If they want me to put their business on the back of a T-shirt, I’ll welcome any sponsors. We also want to encourage the community to help other businesses at my starting and ending points if they choose to come watch me run.”

A former resident of Michigan, Smith moved to Natchez with his grandmother as a child because of legal circumstances.

“I was locked up in a juvenile detention center, and the only way for me to get out was to live with her,” Smith said.

Smith picked up boxing at age 13 as a way to relieve anger that had built up inside of him. As an adult, he worked as a captain at the Tensas Parish Detention Center and later taught defensive tactics at Wilkinson County Correctional Facility.

“I went from being locked up with inmates to being over inmates,” Smith said.

While living in Michigan, Smith and his mother stayed at a children’s home for a little while, which is what inspired him to donate 50 percent of his proceeds to the Natchez Children’s Home. The other half will go toward his Boxing Away Anger Daily (BAAD), a boxing program he would like to start for local youth. Smith is looking to build a boxing workshop behind his grandmother’s house in the Broadmoor Subdivision, which he inherited after she died.

“Kids today are bored and angry,” Smith said. “I want to help them get that anger out the right way, with skill and technique.

“I graduated in 2000, and back then, for one person to get killed is shocking. Now we have four, five or six a year — that’s crazy.”

Despite having never run a marathon, Smith said his boxing training over the years has helped him build up stamina. He said he’s hoping his endeavors will go toward leaving a lasting impression behind for future generations.

“Your house, your jewelry and stuff doesn’t last forever,” he said. “Your legacy will affect someone for the rest of your life.”

For more information, or to donate, call Smith at 601-334-5066.