Monday, December 11, 2017
News Roundup

Pasco siblings, ages 6 and 9, become a coach-wrestler duo to help Make-A-Wish Foundation

TAMPA — With each scrappy victory that the Blevins family racks up on the wrestling mat, another child gets a little closer to their wish coming true.

Six-year-old Ethan Blevins and his 9-year-old sister Arianna are using their passion for jiu jitsu to raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The sibling coach-wrestler duo have only been at it for a few weeks (two matches) but have already raised $110 for the foundation by taking pledges for each victory that Ethan earns during sanctioned events. What started as an idea that Arianna had after meeting her elementary school teacher's assistant, a current "wish kid," is turning into full time work for the pair as they collect pledges.

"We just want to help other kids have their wish come true before something bad happens to them," Arianna Blevins said. "It's been fun getting people to pledge because we love these events anyways and now we get to do something for other kids while we do it."

The kids' father, Daniel Blevins, owns Gator MMA in New Port Richey and has helped his children every step of the way in organizing the work with the foundation. Now, the training center owner says he intends to obtain a 501(c)3 license to allow his business to work on a donation basis.

"We are always looking for ways to help other people, it's just something that we believe in," Daniel Blevins said. "I had a friend who had done things with the Make-A-Wish foundation and he put me in contact with someone to help the kids set what they are doing up. With Gator MMA we want to get a nonprofit license because we have a lot of people who can't pay but want to learn about the sport. We want to be able to do it on a donation basis."

The Make-A-Wish Foundation receives a number of donations every year, but usually it's an organization or an entire league doing the fundraising. MAWF's Development and Events Manager Heather Ainsworth sees the Blevins as a powerhouse duo on the mat and believes they will eventually be just as good at raising funds.

"I had heard about what they wanted to do and went to meet them, but I was expecting them to be like 10 or 12 when I saw all the things Ethan had won," Ainsworth said. "These two little kids just blew me away. We have lots of schools that participate in wish kids but these kids are a bit special because it's just them. They're not doing this because someone else has told them to, they're just doing because they want to."

Last Saturday, Ethan Blevins competed in the North American Grappling Association's Jiu Jitsu Tampa Championship held at the University of South Florida. Blevins took the championship in the 49-pound weight class.

 
Comments
Lions-Buccaneers Turning Point, Week 14: A coach's future hangs in the balance

Lions-Buccaneers Turning Point, Week 14: A coach's future hangs in the balance

TAMPA — The season started in August with “Hard Knocks,” packed bleachers at training camp and cheers for coach Dirk Koetter.It ended Sunday with a 24-21 loss to the Lions, a lot of empty seats and chants of “We want Gruden ba...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Tree trimmer shocked by power line in Clearwater, authorities say

Tree trimmer shocked by power line in Clearwater, authorities say

CLEARWATER — A 38-year-old tree trimmer is in critical condition after he was shocked by a power line Monday, according to Clearwater Fire & Rescue.Ernest Harlen, of Largo, was on a ladder cutting trees with a pole saw when he was shocked just before...
Updated: 15 minutes ago
Could report of rift relate to Jameis Winston’s damaged brand?

Could report of rift relate to Jameis Winston’s damaged brand?

TAMPA — What we have at One Buc Place is a game of Clue. The whodunit in this case is the person(s) who put out the information that quarterback Jameis Winston’s relationship with coach Dirk Koetter is on cracked ice.Was it Winston in the weight room...
Updated: 17 minutes ago

Updated: 1 hour ago
Police make arrest in South Tampa home invasion of 77-year-old

Police make arrest in South Tampa home invasion of 77-year-old

TAMPA — Police have arrested a teenager in connection with an armed home invasion around the Hyde Park area.Leo W. Butler, 19, was arrested Friday and faces a charge of robbery of less than $300. He is being held on a $15,000 bond.According to Tampa ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Trump wants to send astronauts back to the moon then on to Mars

Trump wants to send astronauts back to the moon then on to Mars

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump wants to send astronauts back to the moon — and on to Mars. Trump signed a policy directive Monday instructing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to "refocus America’s space program on human explorat...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority plays beat the clock on GOP tax bill

Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority plays beat the clock on GOP tax bill

TAMPA — With the Republican tax bill poised to eliminate the opportunity, the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority on Monday said it had refinanced a big chunk of its debt to save money in the future.The authority borrowed $152 million from the bo...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Alabama Senate race, unlikely nail biter, races to finish line

Alabama Senate race, unlikely nail biter, races to finish line

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — In a blur of television ads, conflicting polls and presidential tweets, Doug Jones and Roy Moore raced Monday to make their final pleas in Alabama’s special election for the Senate, with both candidates focused on turning out their...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Saturday’s sonic booms likely from F-15 fighters, NORAD says

Saturday’s sonic booms likely from F-15 fighters, NORAD says

Those sonic booms heard across the state Saturday afternoon were likely from two F-15 fighter jets protecting President Donald Trump during his visit to Florida, according to the North American Aerospace Defense Command.The jets, which belong to the ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
JW Marriott Clearwater Beach project still on target despite some bumps

JW Marriott Clearwater Beach project still on target despite some bumps

CLEARWATER BEACH — While Tampa is excited about its first JW Marriott hotel, plans are moving ahead for a $130 million JW Marriott property on Clearwater Beach, despite some hiccups. "We’ve done really well in our opinion," Uday Lele, developer of t...
Updated: 2 hours ago