Elkhart Martial Arts honors late veteran

NOW: Elkhart Martial Arts honors late veteran


He was a soldier, a martial arts master and made it his mission to fight bullying. Now, Elkhart Martial Arts has immortalized Bill DeShone in naming a new training room after him and continuing a scholarship that he started to pay for Tae Kwon Do training for those in need.

Steve's Gym for Elkhart Martial Arts honored the late Bill DeShone Friday night by opening the Bill DeShone training room with its inaugural class.

DeShone was a veteran who often paid for kids who were bullied to take Tae Kwon Do lessons to help them build self-confidence.

Old friends of his said he was more than a name.

"He was a standup guy, a good guy," said Jeff Schrock, one of DeShone's old friends. "He was part of the community. He lived here, played here, worked here, and he contributed a lot to the community."

Grandmaster Steve Travis, the owner of Steve's Gym for Elkhart Martial Arts hoped the new training room will keep DeShone's spirit alive.

"We hope that our legacy with this is even though he's not with us in a physical being, we continue his spirit thathe had through these donations and through these programs," Travis said.

The gym helps kids get their self-confidence back and helps military veterans get reintegrated to civilian life.

The gym has a partnership with an organization called Freedomsystem.org. Both work together to allow veterans to train at the gym for free once a week.

"When I got out of the Army, I needed something to get out of my own head," said Kenneth Holmes, the president of FreedomSystems.org. "So, I had been doing the marketing for Steve's Gym. Then, I started doing it here, and I realized how much it was helping me with PTSD and TBI. If it's helping me it could definitely help other veterans."

DeShone wanted to help kids and veterans. Now, both have a chance to get Tae Kwon Do lessons without paying a cent. His idea of paying for kids' lessons who may be bullied at school or are shy continues through the Bill DeShone Scholarship, something that allows kids like Anthony Riley to train for free. He said having the scholarship is good.

"I get to do karate moves and have fun," Riley said.

DeShone passed away due to complications from a knee surgery. He was 55 years old. You can learn more about the Bill DeShone scholarship by going to the organization's Facebook page.

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