WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Quentin Saunders, 13, was awarded the key to the city after he brought back a handful of medals from Chile this year.
Saunders’ experience is a feel good story that highlights the common expression — it takes a village to raise a child. His community rallied around him to not only make sure they raised the funds to get him to South America, but also to build a gym that he could train in.
“We had two other athletes that qualified to represent the United States at the world title,” said Saunders coach, Charles Knox. “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to afford to get them over there, Quentin is the first.”
Saunders is 13 years old and stands nearly 6 feet tall and weighs 160 pounds. He is the first of Knox’s students to win the Pan Am wrestling title in South America.
“He’s a big guy,” said Knox. “Not everyone in this community gets opportunities like this one so to be able to watch him go this far is a dream come true. I want more kids to have this experience.”
Both Knox and Saunders are members of Dellrose Church. The church essentially served as their backbone. Six years ago the pastor offered to turn a downstairs space into a training facility. After making some adjustments to the size of the space, the Wichita Police Department donated wrestling mats as well as helped with the setup.
“I see it as a ministry,” said Dellrose Pastor, Kevas Harding. “Whenever we can help young men come off the street and use that aggressiveness in a positive way, to do great things, to get scholarships to go to college: it just blesses my heart to see that we can bless young people.”
A blessing that continues to extend itself, Quentin is also the first Wichita kid of his age to be awarded the key to the city for his accomplishment.
“It’s actually not a key,” said Saunders. “It’s a coin but it’s still pretty cool.”
The younger kids that attend the church and live in Saunders’ neighborhood, have now taken an interest in wrestling. Pastor Kevas told KSN that young men have been showing up to the gym to ask what it takes to win some of their own gold medals.
For more of Dellrose Ministry or Hard Knox Wrestling you can visit the church or click here.