Wednesday, April 25, 2018
News Roundup

When opportunity knocks, hold the door open for others

The sight of Eric Hayes and T.J. Lewis left an indelible impression on Tyrone Keys when he arrived at Jerry Ulm Dodge 20 years ago.

Keys walked into the dealership on Dale Mabry Highway a week after helping Hayes and Lewis land summer jobs. The former NFL player needed to make sure Hayes and Lewis hadn't disappointed Jerry Ulm Sr., a man who extended a chance to the kids even though he knew nothing of them and very little about Keys.

The ex-Buccaneer and Chicago Bear looked to start a foundation that would help high school athletes overlooked by scouts earn scholarships and transition into college, but he needed support. He met with Ulm, sharing his vision and inspiration, and Ulm was sold.

Grateful for the opportunity Ulm extended to him, Keys tabbed Hayes and Lewis and hoped that the two would take advantage. But he knew that if the two disappointed the managers, failed to show up on time or showed lackluster effort, the grand experiment might fail, Ulm might lose lost faith and his vision might never materialize.

So he arrived that day to make sure Hayes and Lewis were working out, and discovered they definitely were working.

"The first person I saw was Eric, and he was covered in oil," said Keys, laughing at the memory 20 years later.

Hayes had spent his week working with mechanics, and it appeared the mechanics had worked him over. Lewis didn't look much better after a long day of washing cars at the dealership. But the sweat, dirt and grime couldn't hide their smiles. Or their determination.

"The way my parents raised me, I knew I had to do well," Hayes said. "They told me, 'Tyrone helped you get this job, you better not go up there and mess up.' "

Lewis brought much of the same attitude, but understand that while they may have come in wanting to earn money as they prepared to go to college, they gained so much more. The workers at Jerry Ulm Dodge shared wisdom while showing them how to handle menial tasks.

"While we were washing cars, we were talking about life," Lewis said. "They were giving me advice about the front end and the back end. I remember all those conversations."

And Ulm remembered how the young men delivered on the vision Keys sold. He fell ill that summer and passed away in September 1993, but the Ulm family asked mourners to give to Keys' upstart nonprofit, All Sports Community Service.

"I will never forget attending and sitting in the back of First Baptist Church for Mr. Ulm's service," Keys said. "Jerry Ulm Jr. read a letter to his dad from ASCS and I was, simply, overtaken."

From those early beginnings, Keys has gone on to help thousands of kids obtain higher education opportunities. And Lewis and Hayes were among the firsts. Hayes went on to play basketball at University of Maryland-Baltimore County and is now the head basketball coach at Jefferson High School.

Lewis, a basketball star at Queens College in Charlotte, N.C., became a vice president with Bank of America and has returned to Tampa to work for Urban Lending Solutions. Along the way, they've paid it forward over and over again.

In the years that followed, other All Sports students worked at Jerry Ulm Dodge, including Jerrell Mack, who now owns his own business, and Jasmine Trammel, now an assistant principal at Strawberry Crest High School.

Their experiences are a lesson for every young person. When an opportunity arises, you have a responsibility not just to take advantage of it, but to hold that figurative door open so others can walk through.

You can never underestimate the impact one individual's success can have on a person, a leader and an organization. Because Hayes and Lewis were willing to get down and dirty, they helped lift up a person, a nonprofit and a family business.

That's all I'm saying.

Comments

Dade City may add code enforcement magistrate

DADE CITY — The city is poised to put more teeth into its code enforcement by setting up a system to handle major problem cases.Dade City Commissioners on Tuesday approved on first reading an ordinance that allows the city manager to place certain co...
Updated: 15 minutes ago
The case for the Bucs and NFL draft prospect Derwin James

The case for the Bucs and NFL draft prospect Derwin James

The best weapon against the NFL's evolving offenses, Texas A&M's Jimbo Fisher said, is a defender who can do it all — someone who can cover a tight end, shadow a receiver or blitz the backfield."The way the game is played now on defense," Fishe...
Updated: 21 minutes ago
Two hospitalized after crash on Bayside Bridge

Two hospitalized after crash on Bayside Bridge

CLEARWATER — Two Brandon men were hospitalized Tuesday night after they lost control of their car and crashed into trees on the south end of the Bayside Bridge, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.At 8:15 p.m., 19-year-old Coi Jenkins was driving...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Seminole Heights murder suspect to undergo psychological exam

Seminole Heights murder suspect to undergo psychological exam

TAMPA — A judge appointed a psychologist Wednesday to determine if the man accused of four Seminole Heights murders is mentally ill.Hillsborough Circuit Judge Mark Wolfe approved a request from attorneys for Howell Emanuel Donaldson III to have Dr. R...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hernando School Board okays second district-wide survey to evaluate superintendent

Hernando School Board okays second district-wide survey to evaluate superintendent

BROOKSVILLE — A second district-wide survey to evaluate the performance of Superintendent Lori Romano soon will go out to about 3,000 Hernando County School District employees, giving them a chance to weigh in on the job she is doing.The instrument, ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Memorials, crisis counselors at Lakewood, day after student dies in crash

Memorials, crisis counselors at Lakewood, day after student dies in crash

ST. PETERSBURG — Memorials are building and crisis counselors were at Lakewood High School on Wednesday morning, a day after a student was killed and two others seriously injured in a crash Tuesday afternoon.The fatal crash occurred just before 2 p.m...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Carlton: The zoo is changing, but don’t worry. The meerkats are on it.

Carlton: The zoo is changing, but don’t worry. The meerkats are on it.

The other day I stopped to check on some progress. And got to see a meerkat, too.Progress in Tampa these days usually refers to the development of Vinikville — excuse me, Water Street Tampa — along the south edge of downtown.Or what will allegedly be...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Meet the man who wrote ‘Conjunction Junction’ and other ‘Schoolhouse Rock!’ songs that stick in your head

Meet the man who wrote ‘Conjunction Junction’ and other ‘Schoolhouse Rock!’ songs that stick in your head

Anyone whose childhood began in or after the early 1970s probably knows at least one or two Schoolhouse Rock! songs, the ones that taught children multiplication tables, civics lessons and basic grammar. In fact, reading that sentence probably has yo...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Hit parade? More of a pitching parade for Land O’Lakes

Hit parade? More of a pitching parade for Land O’Lakes

LAND O'LAKES — Heading into the final week of the regular season, the Land O'Lakes High School baseball pitchers have compiled a team earned-run average of 1.37, a stunningly good number."It's funny, because that might be our batting average at...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Who will the Bucs take with the No. 7 pick?

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Who will the Bucs take with the No. 7 pick?

Rick Stroud answers your NFL draft questions in this mailbag segment, including who the Bucs might take with the seventh overall pick, which running backs they might be looking at, whether Taven Bryan could slip to them in the second r...
Updated: 3 hours ago