Sunday, June 25, 2017
WWE Hall of Famer Gerry Brisco knows a lot about hunger from the times he had to make weight as an amateur wrestling champion. But he had a choice in that matter. At this point in his life, he’s more about preventing those kind of hunger pangs for children who don’t have that choice.
This issue also hits close to home for Brisco, because his wife is a schoolteacher who sees childhood hunger on a daily basis in her class.
“It’s heartbreaking” Brisco says, of hearing about kids coming into class having not eaten before school. “She will feed these kids no matter what. She will buy them lunch or be sure that they go on the school lunch programs. Once these kids start eating — once they get breakfast — they start behaving in classes and doing their homework, and move from being problems in the classroom to being contributors.”
Experiences like these drove Brisco to want to more actively work toward stopping childhood hunger. An opportunity presented itself when Bill Murdock, who cowrote Brisco’s brother Jack’s autobiography, contacted Gerry Brisco about his post-wrestling plans.
This discussion changed Brisco’s life and helped lead to the foundation of Headlock on Hunger, a nonprofit organization based in North Carolina. The group’s mantra is, “When you’re hungry, nothing else matters.”
The central aim of “Headlock for Hunger” is to achieve its goals of food collection and public education via high-visibility events, such as the food drive it held on June 21 at an Ingles Market in Asheville, North Carolina.
The drive had a few main event headliners, as WWE Hall of Famers Jim Ross, Adam “Edge” Copeland and Beth Copeland (aka Beth Phoenix) all joined the day’s efforts.
Ross serves as Headlock on Hunger’s national chair because of his own personal passion for this cause.
“I’m a big advocate of that people should volunteer more.” Ross said. “We’d have a lot less problems in this country if we all did a lot more volunteer work. If we all did good things for those in need. Because we’d have a lot more self-esteem and we’d feel better about ourselves and help the community.
“When I found out and verified that 25 percent of school-age children, when they are not in school, don’t eat, I was embarrassed that we live in a country that we could allow that to happen,” Ross continued. “We allow it to happen because there aren’t a lot of people breaking doors down to help any charity.”
As all who’ve involved themselves in the cause thus far have discovered, the best way to bring a dream into reality is to become the change you want to see.
“I thought maybe somebody will see me rolling my sleeves up and paying my own way to come to these charity affairs, and get some encouragement by seeing that JR, with the year I’ve had losing my wife in March and dealing with a district attorney and lawyers and all of that stuff, is still out there trying to do things for those that need it, and will figure that maybe, ‘I can do the same thing,'” Ross said.
Ross did note that today’s wrestling world is very tuned in to civic duty.
“I find that today’s generation of wrestlers is a lot more aware of things like this than previous generations, in my view. I think that the WWE is so civic-oriented that the younger wrestlers get caught up in the rush of helping others.”
The WWE connection with Headlock on Hunger continued to evolve with the involvement of the Copelands, who moved to Asheville, North Carolina, in 2009.
“We got involved with an Eblen Charities turkey drive at Thanksgiving and saw that a lot of families rely on the school lunch program during the year,” said Beth Copeland. “That leaves the issue of, ‘How do we bridge the gap for these kids when they are on break during summertime, Christmastime or Thanksgiving?’ Some of them go hungry on those breaks from school because they don’t have that lunch program. We thought that initially we could get some sports figures together and use our wrestling names and try to get some notoriety and attention on this cause and do something about it.”
Adam noted that the objective is to expand well beyond the local impact.
“I have a vision for this that you could take it national. We already have Heath Shuler, Brad Johnson, Brad Daugherty, Jim Ross, Gerry Brisco, myself and Beth. But the way I envision this thing going is that when I run into Dave Grohl and say, ‘Hey, do you want to hop on board with this and try to feed some kids?’ we have a structure in place where he can join the fight.
“I want to turn this thing into Heroes Against Hunger, and really let the people who donate know that they are the heroes for their donation. We’re already distributed half a million meals in 2½ years. I would love to see it be 10 million meals. I always try to think where could we push this to so that kids across the country are getting the benefits of this. It’s snowballed each year, and I would love to turn it into an avalanche.”
For the time being, the group’s current local efforts continue to be quite successful. In last week’s drive, Beth , who serves as Headlock on Hunger’s vice chair, indicated they collected 3,000 pounds of food — a 33 percent increase over last year’s total for the June event.
Beth said that while it might not seem that Asheville would have issues of this nature, childhood hunger hits roughly one in five children in the area. This is nearly par for the course for most communities, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website indicates that 12.7 percent of households had “food insecurity” at least one time during 2015, and that 5 percent of households had “very low food security“.
The nationwide scope of this issue could make it difficult to pin down, but Beth says that “this initiative is very portable. If you’re in Portland, Oregon, and you find this cause to be something that is affecting your community, Eblen Charities can assist to bring Headlock on Hunger to your city. That’s what we’re hoping, that we can start sending out satellites to help get other cities set up to fight this problem, because it is widespread, sadly, across our country.”
The good news is that the efforts of Brisco, Ross, Murdock (who also serves as the executive director of Eblen Charities), the Copelands and many others have already helped expand Headlock on Hunger past its North Carolina base and into South Carolina and Florida. Its next big event will be held next month at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame’s Dan Gable Museum in Waterloo, Iowa, further spreading the reach of the cause.
By catching the eyes of some more potentially like-minded folks, the hope is that Headlock on Hunger will continue to spread its message until it becomes a nation-wide effort.
“What better place to hold a Headlock on Hunger event than at a wrestling museum?” asked Brisco. “Our slogan as wrestlers is that we are hungry by choice because we are trying to make weight. Some of these kids have no choice, it’s just a way of life. They wake up hungry and they go to bed hungry and that’s a shame. The message we want to get out is hunger is year round.”
INGLES MARKETS LAUNCH THIRD ANNUAL HEADLOCK ON HUNGER FOOD DRIVE WITH WWE HALL OF FAMERS JIM ROSS, EDGE, AND BETH PHOENIX
It has been less than three years since the most recognizable and influential names in the world of amateur wrestling and sports entertainment came to Asheville to announce Eblen Charities’ new children’s hunger initiative Headlock on Hunger at UNCA’s Kimmel Arena.
Since that announcement thousands of students in our community have received tens of thousands of meals and snacks thanks to area and national wrestling teams, coaches, and fans. As successful as the program has been so far the fight is far from over.
As a student, when you are hungry – you can’t study, when you are hungry – you can’t think, when you are hungry – you know that you are different from your friends who have enough to eat at home when you don’t.
You know you have a secret to keep.
When you are hungry – nothing else matters.
Hall of fame broadcaster, former World Wrestling Entertainment Executive Vice-President and current Fox Sports commentator, Jim Ross; and former world champions and WWE Hall of Famers Adam Copeland (16 time world heavyweight champion Edge) and Beth Copeland (four-time world champion Beth Phoenix)will be at the event collecting food and donations for Headlock on Hunger.
On Wednesday, June 21st the Third Annual Ingles Food for Thought Food Drive at Ingles market on Tunnel Road where we will be collecting thousands of pounds of food from generous donations from individuals, organizations, and Ingles vendors to be distributed through the Ingles / Eben Food for Thought and the Arby’s / Eblen JoyFULL Holidays at Home programs to help ensure that no child goes hungry in our community.
In addition many of Ingles’ vendors are joining us by generously donating their products to make sure all students will not have to face hunger.
“We are excited and most grateful to Ingles, their vendors, as well as Jim, Adam, and Beth who have joined us for Headlock on Hunger, not only lending their name but their time and
effort to touch so many children and continue our fight against children’s hunger in our community,” states Bill Murdock, executive director of Eblen Charities.
“I am honored to be a part of the Headlock on Hunger team as there is nothing more important or rewarding than to help feed a child in need. Hunger will be pinned!” adds
Jim will also be appearing at various Ingles in our area on Thursday, June 22nd meeting fans and signing autographs..
Headlock on Hunger brings together public, private, and sports organizations to help provide meals for students who may not have enough to eat at home.An outgrowth of the Ingles / Eblen Food for Thought Program and the Arby’s / Eblen JoyFull Home for the Holidays, Headlock on Hunger assists in filling the gap during those times the students are away from school and provide food at home as well as providing tens of thousands of snacks during the school day for primary, elementary, and after school programs.
Many thanks to our Headlock on Hunger Food Drive Partners including Ingles Markets, iHeartRadio- Asheville, the Asheville Citizen-Times, and all of the participating Ingles vendors. Special thanks to Bobby Ingle, Jim Lanning, Tom Outlaw, and Melissa Leavell of Ingles for making this event possible.
For more information contact Bill Murdock at 828-242-2848 or via email at [email protected]
During his prep and college Wrestling careers, Dan compiled an unbelievable record of 181-1. He was undefeated in 64 prep matches, and was 117-1 at Iowa State University. His only defeat came in the NCAA finals his senior year. Gable was a two time NCAA National Wrestling Champion and three-time all-American and three-time Big Eight champion. He set NCAA records in winning and pin streaks.
After college, Gable added titles at the 1971 Pan American Games in Cali Columbia and World Championships in Sofia Bulgaria and in 1972 the Soviet Union’s famed Tbilisi Tournament in Tblisi Georgia. He won an unprecedented six Midlands Open championships and was that meet’s outstanding wrestler five times. Gable won a Gold Medal at famed 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich Germany without surrendering a single point. The Soviets came to the Olympics with only one goal in mind: to defeat Gable. They were unsuccessful.
In Gable’s final 21 Olympic qualification and Olympic matches, he scored 12 falls and outscored his nine other opponents, 130-1.
Gable joined the Iowa coaching staff in 1972, assisting head coach and Hall of Famer Gary Kurdelmeier until taking over the program in 1976.
As the University of Iowa’s all-time winningest coach from 1976 to 1997, Gable won 15 NCAA National Wrestling Team Titles while compiling a career record of 355-21-5, He coached 152 All-Americans, 45 National Champions, 106 Big Ten Champions and 12 Olympians, including four gold, one silver and three bronze medalists. The Hawkeyes won 25 consecutive Big Ten championships, 21 under Gable as head coach and four while he was an assistant coach and administrator. He had a winning percentage of .932 and captured nine consecutive (1978-86) NCAA Championships.
At the time that equaled the longest streak of national titles won by any school in any sport, and is also held by Yale golf (1905-13) and Southern Cal track (1935-43).
Gable has coached many United States teams in International Freestyle competition. He is a three-time Olympic head coach (1980, 1984 and 2000). The 1984 Olympic team, which featured four Hawkeyes, won seven gold medals. He was an assistant freestyle coach at the 1976 and 1988 Olympics. Gable also served as head coach of the World Team in 1977, 1978, 1979, 1983, 1994 and 1999, as well as 10 World Cup teams winning three team golds in the World Cup competition. Gable also coached the U.S. team to a bronze medal at the 1986 Goodwill Games, and has led several all-star teams to Europe and the Soviet Union.
Gable’s success as an athlete and coach is a direct result of his dedication and ability to get the very most out of himself and others. Gable is a renowned speaker on the topics of overcoming adversity, team building, performance enhancement and motivation. He has spoken to diverse audiences, ranging from high school students to Fortune 500 executives.
Gable’s speaking style is dynamic and entertaining. He relates his life experiences and gives his formula for success which his listeners can apply in their everyday lives.
On Friday April 28, Dan will be joining Eblen Chartities’ Headlock on Hunger for a special dinner event. Please join us for this one of a kind event presented by Ingles Markets, Theraworx, Arby’s, Pepsi, and the Andrew Institute for Leadership and Public Service. Individual tickets for the event is $50.
A limited number of corporate tables available. Call Bill Murdock at 828-242-2848 or email [email protected] for more details.
On Saturday, April 29th Dan will be holding a clinic at Enka High School for wresters. parents, coaches, and all who are interested. Admission for the clinic is $10 with all proceeds going to benefit Headlock on Hunger.
“When you’re hungry, nothing else matters.” — William Murdock
As executive director of the Asheville-based Eblen Charities, Bill Murdock knows all too well about hunger and the devastating
Last year Murdock’s organization reached more than 150,000 needy individuals with more than 70 programs providing medical, utility, rent, clothing, food and emergency assistance. Continue reading “Organization puts headlock on hunger”
Claire Hansen, [email protected] 3:45 p.m. EDT June 27, 2016
ASHEVILLE- Two World Wrestling Entertainment stars and hall of fame members will join Ingles Market and Eblen Charities for the second annual Headlock on Hunger Food Drive, Eblen announced in a press release.
The drive, benefiting the Ingles/Eblen Food for Thought Program, will be 4:30 a.m.-7 p.m. June 29 at the Ingles on Tunnel Road. It is sponsored by Ingles Markets, iHeart Media, the Asheville Citizen-Times and Eblen Charities.
Hall of fame broadcaster, former WWE Executive Vice President and current Fox Sports commentator Jim Ross will be at the event from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and again 4-6 p.m. collecting food and donations. Former world wrestling champion and WWE Hall-of-Famer Jimmy Garvin will be at the drive as well, taking donations from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
The Headlock on Hunger drive aims to bring together public, private and sports organization to help provide meals for local students who may not have enough to eat at home during extended holiday breaks. The drive also aims to provide snacks for students in primary and elementary schools, as well as students in after school programs, whose parents cannot afford them.
Beth Walton, [email protected] 11:01 a.m. EDT May 28, 2015
ASHEVILLE – Last week, Eblen Charities took its fight to end hunger to the wrestling mat.
On Wednesday, professional wrestler Elizabeth Kocianski, better known by her ring name “Beth Phoenix,” partnered with the charity to distribute food at Hominy Valley Elementary School, Sand Hill-Venable Elementary and Enka Middle School.
Kocianski is a former World Wrestling Entertainment Divas Champion and a three-time WWE Women’s Champion.
The visit was part of Eblen Charities new Headlock on Hunger initiative. Started this fall, Headlock on Hunger encourages local wrestling teams to collect food donations for children in need.
The National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Fox Sports Network have partnered with Eblen Charities for the project, a continuation of its Arby’s Eblen Joyfull Home for the Holidays and Ingles’ Eblen Food for Thought programs.
Child hunger statistics show that one out of five children does not have enough food at home, said Bill Murdock, executive director of Eblen Charities. Sometimes, the only meal a student receives is at school. Over the summer and during holiday breaks, finding food can be challenging.
“It just great to see this great public-private partnerships that brings Ingles, Arbys, the school system, as well as the wresting and mixed martial arts communities together,” Murdock said. “It’s everyone joining together to make sure every child has enough to eat.”
Join the fight against the hunger and meet wrestling stars Beth Phoenix, Edge and Jim Ross at a food drive scheduled for June 10 at Ingles, 29 Tunnel Rd., from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Events will also take place on June 11 at the Ingles store at 575 New Leicester Highway and the store at 2299 U.S. 70 / Swannanoa. June 12 food drives will be at 1141 Tunnel Rd. and 1865 Hendersonville Rd.
March 7, 2015 By: Tyler Norris Goode
ASHEVILLE – Because getting to a lower weight class is common to the sport, most wrestlers who battled for Southern Conference titles Saturday at Kimmel Arena have some idea what it’s like to go without regular food rations.
There is one key difference between the SoCon’s best grapplers and the Buncombe County residents they helped by bringing thousands of pounds of nonperishable food items to be given away as part of Eblen Charities’ “Headlock On Hunger” program: The athletes know where their next meal is coming from.
But as Virginia Military coach Chris Skretkowicz pointed out, the steps wrestlers take to compete at different weights give them sympathy for those battling food instability.
“I would not wish hunger on my worst enemy,” Skretkowicz said.
Neither apparently would any of the other league’s athletes and coaches whose donations impressed
Bill Murdock, executive director for Eblen Charities.
Murdock estimated more than 10,000 pounds were delivered by league schools in addition to cash gifts of more than $3,000 through the wrestling drive as well as the “Hoops Against Hunger” effort through the SoCon Basketball Championships.
Murdock said the food will be given to qualified Buncombe County and Asheville City public school students to take home over spring break.
“We know one thing: when you’re hungry, nothing else matters,” Murdock said. “You’re not able to study. You’re not able to think. You’re not able to have a regular academic career because you have a secret; you know you’re different from some of the other kids who do have enough food at home.”
Murdock said there was no official competition to see which school could bring the most boxed and canned items, but he added VMI probably brought more than anyone – roughly 700 pounds. Davidson’s wrestlers brought an estimated 500 pounds. (Continued on page 3)
Skretkowicz said his school actually did hold a contest to see which of VMI’s 11 military companies could produce the largest haul.“It wasn’t just our wrestling team; it was our school who did it,” Skretkowicz said. “They’re really big on who’s company is best.
“To me, this is a close topic for wrestlers because wrestlers know what it’s like to go hungry at times,” added Skretkowicz, who wrestled collegiately for Hofstra. “But what we do is voluntary. For someone who has no option … we just have compassion for these families. We want to help them.”
A sophomore who competes for VMI at the 125 weight class, Dalton Henderson said his past experiences with backing off on regular eating rations ahead of weigh-ins are etched in memory. “Your energy goes down a little bit, and it starts getting depressing because your moods can really change,” Henderson said. “Just depending on how long you’ve gone without food or how long you’ve gone without drinking something, it can really affect how you react.”
Murdock said the donations are extremely vital for times like spring break, when some local children have little at home to eat.“One story we’ve heard is a local middle school student who’d been at home for two weeks over Christmas break,” Murdock said. “When she came back to school, she went to the counselor’s office and was eating corn meal straight out of the box. We’re not talking about inner-city Chicago; this is right here. And unfortunately, it’s that way in every community.”