Early Wednesday morning, someone smashed a window of a non-profit boxing gym in downtown Bend -- a place that helps give structure to at-risk youth and can help to prevent that very kind of crime.
“I got a call about 5:45 (a.m.) from the 911 dispatch saying there was a window smashed at the gym,” said Richard Miller, the head coach at Deschutes County ROCKS, a non-profit boxing gym that helps at-risk kids get off the street by providing structure to their lives.
He said he considers this incident to actually be a valuable lesson to those young people: “They are going to come and see what happens when somebody is not involved in a sport or activity and has idle time on their hands.”
Miller and Assistant Coach Peter Newell, have invested countless hours into the gym, and even consider the kids their own.
“I have a wife but no children, so this is my family,” Newell said.
But his home away from home isn’t in the best location.
Miller said, “We’ve been tagged several times with graffiti on the front of the building, on the side of the building. You know, it is what it is -- it’s that side of town, I guess.”
The vandals smashed their large front window and cracked a second one. Although the damage was bad, what’s worse was the timing.
“We have an event this weekend, we have Oregon Golden Gloves at Eagle Crest," Miller said. "Two days away, a lot of stuff to get done.”
But Miller insists that you can smash their windows, but you can’t smash their spirit.
“They’ll get through it -- we’ll get through it and we’ll move on," he said. "We’re boxers -- nobody’s going to beat us down."
Before, Miller was completely against the idea of security cameras in downtown Bend, an idea that has resurfaced in recent weeks. But now, he’s all for it.
And as for the vandals, he has one simple request: “For that judge to send him to the gym for a month, so we can help try to get him back on the right track. Everybody makes mistakes every once in a while.”
The Deschutes County ROCKS Boxing Team will be competing at the Oregon State Golden Gloves competition in Eagle Crest this week.
If you’d like to attend the event and/or donate to the gym to help with damage and keep the boxers boxing,visit DeschutesCountyRocks.com.