Noisemaker - July 2009

By Hannah Wallace Photography by William S. Speer July 1, 2009



Karate Kids


Jessie Vi believes in treating everyone equally. So the 46-year-old instructor at Red Tiger Martial Arts didn’t hesitate to welcome Loftin Searcy as a karate student—though Searcy, an eight-year-old with multiple disabilities, had already been turned down by other martial arts schools. "He couldn’t walk in a straight line when he started," says Vi. "Now he runs." In May, CVS/pharmacy named Vi one of 10 finalists (out of nearly 5,000 entrants nationally) in its "For All the Ways You Care" contest, which included a trip to New York City to appear on Good Morning America. Though he didn’t win the grand prize, Vi says he "was honored to be in the same room" with the other finalists, who inspired him to involve his students in future community service projects. Now he’s helping Searcy earn his black belt.

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