22-year-old Chris Cromartie Jr. Has had a rough life. He got into trouble in school, at home, and on the streets. He spent time in gangs, and had numerous brushes with the law. When he started training at Wilmington Coastal Boxing, a non-profit gym north of downtown Wilmington, it gave him something positive to focus on, and he began to dedicate his life to his training. When roof damage from hurricane Irene threatened the future of the gym’s existence, Cromartie realized how important the gym was to keeping him and other youth off the streets, and he poured himself into getting the gym repaired.
Cromartie was made general manager of the gym. This role provided him with a sense of responsibility not only to the gym, but to his community and the people in it. Now when Chris isn’t training or boxing, he’s coaching young boxers, talking to kids on the streets, or volunteering for local community projects. Without the gym, he says, he’d be back on the streets.