Karate trophies for a cause

Staff report


A local karate master is donating some of his prized accolades to a local charity.

A.E. Vea, a martial-arts and ballroom-dancing instructor who has been sharing his craft with the community for nearly 50 years, is donating about 1,500 trophies, plaques and medals to the Mahoning County Habitat for Humanity. “I don’t need them anymore, so I’m hoping kids or a family can get something from them,” said Vea.

The 10th-degree black- belt instructor said the idea came to him as he was making room in his business on Belmont Avenue, which serves as a training center and dance studio. He said he is giving away his personal and team awards to make more room in his gym.

He’s hoping the absence of trophies in his studio will help young karate and dance enthusiasts refocus their efforts on learning a respectful art form, instead of chasing glorified hardware.

“I don’t want kids to take a posture of negativity,” said Vea. “I want them to be courteous and help other people in the field of self-defense.”

A spokesman with the Mahoning County Habitat for Humanity said the items will be used for re:CREATE, a Youngstown State University program that recycles older material. According to the re:CREATE website, the organization is a program that uses items again for the same purpose or re-creates a new one.

Whatever they are used for, Vea said he hopes the items can spread joy to local residents.

“I just want people to get the most out of it,” he said.

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