Jefferson Award Winner says to win in life you have to stay in t - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Jefferson Award Winner says to win in life you have to stay in the fight

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At the Good Fight it's not about the punch. It's about people.  Kathy Freidhof is the Office Manager there.

"It's a place of acceptance...it's a place where they can come and have fun and be themselves.  I just loved what the dream was with a passion and plus learning how to box is something new," said Freidhoff.

Nate Coleman came up with the idea to start Good Fight, a community center helping kids of all abilities build confidence and stay on the right path. Nate says he rarely saw his father when he was growing up but despite that but he still went on to do good things.  He joined the Marines, got married and had three daughters but eight years ago all that changed.

"I was living in my car in the Walmart parking lot in Texas and there was a knock on my door that woke me up and  I was pretty sure, was very sure it was security to throw me out.  It wasn't.  It was another homeless guy.  He wanted to sleep in my car because it was gonna storm that night.  So I was like alright just put your bag in the trunk cause I don't know what you got in your bag and it's cool. Next day I wake up and he's smoking a cigarette on the hood of the car. I get him his bag and he says to me,'Hey I really wish I was a Veteran' and I said why and he said because they built that homeless shelter for veterans up the street.  I said I'm homeless," said Coleman.

About 45 minutes after checking into the Veterans Shelter Nate got a job. His whole outlook changed but he says the lesson here is staying in the fight and keeping your head straight.

"There was a time in my life where I thought that things were unfair ...that bad things had happened to me in my life.  I lost my job.  I had been through a divorce. I was homeless and that's when you begin to wonder about your faith and say where's God in all of this.  Why did this happen to me? So you begin to doubt a lot of things," said Coleman.  

Nate says the Good Fight is all about teaching kids that life isn't fair but if you don't give up you can overcome anything.

Gabrielle Mattison takes online school courses because she was being bullied at school.  

"I deal with really bad social anxiety but here I don't feel affected by it and it's just so great. It's a really tight knit community and everyone's like family," said Mattison.

D'Angelo Criscione says he has learned more from just watching how Nate conducts himself. "He's definitely given me solid advice and everything but  when it comes to life I've learned more not from his direct advice from but from what he's done in his brief mentions of his history," said Criscione.

Emma Wilson says she's a different now.  "I was like super shy but I got to know everybody and now I'm not," said Wilson.

Emma Neuberger is a Junior at UW-L and the President of the Boxing Club.  She's also a coach at The Good Fight.

"Nate is one of my favorite people. I've known him since I've come to college and he's really helped me along in my journey and being able to kind of give back to him by being and helping out here is really nice for me," said Neuberger.  

From student to instructor Nate says you've probably witnessed some miracle in your life.

James Campbell met Nate on the bus and ever since he's been teaching at The Good Fight. "It helped me a lot. It gave me real purpose. When my wife died I just felt so depressed. I'd go home to an empty house. I didn't know what to do. and this place has given me such an outlet," said Campbell.

Kathy Freidhof says she's never felt better both mentally and physically. "One of the greatest things about learning how to box is I could never use this side of me but after learning how to box I feel like a whole person," said Freidhoff.   

Physical training builds confidence but staying in the fight builds character.

"I think that you can't lose hope.  You have to stay in the fight and that's what I think has helped me," said Coleman.  

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