Hollywood Gym Supports Disabled Athletes

It was no surprise that Jose “Flaco” Perez reached out to offer assistance to Supportabilities, an organization focused on helping those with special needs to stay active, fit, and healthy. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Flaco isn’t the stereotypical gym owner with big muscles, a big attitude and a big accent. This native New Yorker is known in Hollywood for his big heart.

Since the day he opened Flaco’s Community Gym in 2014, his mission has been to give back to the community. From his recent Back-to-School Backpack Giveaway event, the many Thanksgiving food drives, car wash fundraisers, and bicycle giveaways to his latest philanthropic venture F.L.I.T.E., Flaco continues to help others in the community.

This past summer was no different when the boxing facility owner received an alert on social media. The notification came from one of Flaco’s members who was trying to help Daniel Golightly, Head Trainer of “Supportabilities”, find a place to work with his wheelchair bound athletes.

Once Flaco and Golightly spoke, it was an instantaneous connection. The dedicated duo brainstormed for hours and decided to create an exhibition event to showcase their participant’s hard work and make those athletes feel the exhilaration that comes from performing in front of a crowd.

Flaco wanted it to be an extremely entertaining show just like a professional fight. He had each participant choose a nickname and an entrance song. He enlisted the help of some local amateur fighters to come and spar and invited a DJ to get the crowd going. Flaco took the position as the enthusiastic “Michael Buffer”, the American ring announcer known for his catchphrase, “Let’s get ready to rumble!”

“I wanted to make the participants feel special. I wanted to try highlight the great qualities they have, and reward them for working so hard, and it worked.  You could tell by how big everyone smiled after each match.  It was such an amazing event to be a part of,” exclaimed Flaco. “It is easy to complain about something and not do anything about it.  Attack the day, be grateful, focus on what you have and not what you do not.”

Since the event occurred, Daniel GoLightly has been in contact with the chair of Special Olympics and has become head trainer for the U.S. paraplegic team.

“Being around this event, and watching the people involved was such a breath of fresh air. It makes you want to go home, kiss and hug your family, and tell them you love them. It reminds us what is important in life,” added Flaco.

Flaco’s Community Gym is located at 4419 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. They can be reached at (954)842-3446