KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Fountain of Hope Ministries in Knoxville is making a $1,000 annual donation to the Gibbs High School wrestling program.
Roy McGee is the pastor at Fountain of Hope, and he said they are making the donation in honor of his friend David “DJ” Graves, who passed away suddenly.
“I met DJ about four years ago, we were actually in the same recovery program, as soon as I met him, he was just this big old guy and had this big old heart, and were just instantly best friends,” McGee said.
Graves wrestled for Gibbs while in high school, and McGee said he was passionate about giving back to the community.
“It’s picking up where he left off, it’s keeping his heart alive because if he was here today that’s exactly where he would be, with those young men, training them up,” he said.
Fountain of Hope Ministries is a faith-based nonprofit, which McGee said aims to help men who are struggling and give them a fresh start.
“That way when they graduate the program, they can be the men of God they’ve always intended to be for their families,” he said.
Tim Pittman is the wrestling coach at Gibbs High School, and coached Graves during his time on the team.
“He could just light up the room with his smile, he was a great, great kid,” Pittman said.
According to Pittman, the donation will go a long way in funding things like equipment, travel and college funds for their athletes.
“It was really overwhelming just to have that because with our program, we never cut a kid, we always keep all the kids we can. We don’t have a lot of money, wrestling is not a sport that’s really well known,” Pittman said. “We’re always scrounging up money, and our parents are always pulling out of pocket, but this will make a massive difference in a lot of the kids that we have.”