By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A Bath Beach boxing coach who works with at-risk young people and was cited by President Barack Obama for his work has won another accolade – this time from the New York City Council.
Councilman Vincent Gentile, whose district includes parts of Bath Beach, stopped by Willie Vargas’s gym to congratulate the boxing coach.
“Mr. Vargas is a world class boxing trainer who has been teaching young, at-risk children how to box since 1979. In their training, these young men learn not only how to be a champion in the ring, but in the game of life. In fact, five of these young boxers trained by Mr. Vargas have grown – not only into fine young men – but into world champion boxers!” Gentile said in a statement.
All of the young men trained by Vargas have followed in his footsteps, according to Gentile, who said they help keep at-risk youth off the streets and working towards something positive in their lives.
For his 35 year-effort to help young people, Vargas was awarded a Presidential Volunteer Service Award and a Gold Lifetime Achievement Award signed by President Obama. “Mr. Vargas is a resident of Bath Beach and we should all be proud to call him one of our own!” Gentile said.
The President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation (the Council) was established in 2003 to recognize the contributions volunteers are making in our communities and encourage more people to serve. The council created the President’s Volunteer Service Award program as a way to honor Americans who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service. The program is an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).
The President’s Volunteer Service Award recognizes U.S. citizens and lawfully admitted permanent residents of the US who have achieved the required number of hours of service over a 12-month time period – or cumulative hours over the course of a lifetime.