Wrestling a problem and helping homeless veterans

Street Stories

WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) —  Professional wrestlers create their own drama in the ring.

But some local grapplers from an independent circuit are dedicating their canvass-thumping skills to help real-life drama.

Promoter James Allen, who owns New World Wrestling Extreme, put his hero’s name on the event, the inaugural Georgen N. Sawyer, Fight for Your Heroes match.

Sawyer is Allen’s late grandfather who fought overseas during World War II.

“Good man,” Allen said. “Just said it was dangerous. Not a lot of details. He passed at 95.”

Sawyer was never homeless, but his sacrifice is the foundation for his grandson’s choice to raise some cash to get veterans off the street.

“They shouldn’t be sleeping in tents,” Allen said. “They shouldn’t be eating trash out of trash cans.  They should have a better life and we need to do more about it.”

Wrestler Ean Hansen served four years in the Air Force and appreciates how wrestling can do something for his veteran brothers and sisters who are now homeless.

“I’ve seen that first hand,” Hansen said between reps at a recent practice session. “It hurts the heart because those are my people.”

The event at Woonsocket’s American Legion Post 85 pavilion is scheduled for May 18 and will feature a battle royal.

There will be 20 combatants in the ring together, tossing each other out and over the ropes, one at a time, until there’s only one.

The long odds for the winner is symbolic of the struggles some veterans face when they come home.

“We need to fight every day,” Allen said. “We need to do more for them, not just talk about it.”

Allen hopes to raise as much money as possible for the cause, and plans on making the Fight for Your Heroes event an annual show but also hopes it will inspire others to help homeless veterans.

“They went over there, fighting for our freedom, and they’re homeless and they shouldn’t be,” Allen said.

Email Walt at wbuteau@wpri.com with your story ideas and follow us on Twitter: @StreetStories12 and @wbuteau.

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