To the editor:

My name is Kelly Manning. I was raised in Tamworth and played softball, flag football, basketball, soccer, etc. Parker Roberts was my coach for each and every one of these sports from third through eighth grade and due to his mentorship and teaching, I became an athlete with confidence and skill.

He believed in me, he believed in our team — regardless of whether we won or lost.

I remember the first time I played, I was a lanky, awkward kid and had no idea what I was doing, but there Parker was — believing in me from Day 1.

And I gained confidence and skills. I was an all-star basketball player and an all-star softball player. My team believed in me on that court and on that field and I knew they had my back, too, because of what Parker had instilled in us.

Due to Parker’s commitment to us, I avoided trouble in that tiny town. While others were doing drugs and drinking or other dumb stuff, I was focused on sports and my future because Parker gave me something to do, somewhere to go after school, and something to look forward to.

I joined the Army in 2004 and got out of that town, but kept in touch with people back there, Parker included, through social media. I was glad to see he was still doing what he loved to do and taking care of the kids in Tamworth, while becoming a father to twins of his own.

His dedication to that town is more than any other single individual’s who lives there in that 25-plus years. And that includes chiefs of police, school officials, etc.

That man tirelessly works to provide for that community and this is what they do to him? (See “Town in uproar over rec director hours,” Jan. 8.)

Absolutely astonishing and sickening. It breaks my heart; it truly does.

Kelly Manning

Leavenworth, Kan.

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