Oct 30, 2018
Sheriff Steps Up

The Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office recently donated fitness and weight room equipment to SouthWest Edgecombe (N.C.) High School.

According to the Rocky Mount Telegram, Clee Atkinson, Sheriff of Edgecombe County, donated 12 to 15 pieces of equipment, which he received from his associates across the state.

Valerie Bridges, Superintendent of Edgecombe County Public Schools, said she was grateful for the sheriff’s aid.

“We’re extremely grateful for the donation of fitness equipment for SouthWest High School,” Bridges said. “This will give our students access to state-of-the-art equipment in the weight room. Sheriff Atkinson and his department have been instrumental in our school receiving this amazing gift.”

Jonathan Cobb, football coach for SouthWest Edgecombe, said the school had not purchased any new equipment for 31 years, and the weight room only had a few squat racks and benches.

“To get by, we were doing a lot of body weight exercises, which involve doing sit-ups, push-ups, body squats and doing things to supplement what we didn’t have,” he said. “With us being limited, we were being creative and trying to find ways to keep the kids pumped up. We’ve preached for some time it don’t matter what it looks like — it matters how hard you work.”

Cobb said that Atkinson heard about the outdated equipment after holding a crisis training event at the school.

“Nothing had been done to the weight room since 1987,” Cobb said. “Everything was pretty outdated and had fallen apart. I had put a small group of people together to talk about it and brainstorm ways to raise some money and replace the equipment. … Sheriff Atkinson saw a need and nobody asked him. He jumped right on it — and the next thing I know, we’ve got three truckloads of equipment at the school.”

Cobb said the school is working on repainting the weight room, and is raising funds for a new floor. He said that the work should be complete within four to five weeks, at which point the new equipment will be installed.

“The kids are excited, but this isn’t just about football,” Cobb said. “We have strength and conditioning and weightlifting classes as well as every sport spends time in there, from football and basketball all the way to girls’ softball. With more than 800 students, there might be 500 to 600 students that use that weight room, which is more than half the school’s population. We’re 1,000 percent better right now because of the Sheriff’s Office … they really saved our weight room program.”

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