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ROC names Thomas Abbott as February Community Champion

OSWEGO, NY – Recognizing Oswego County has announced the selection of Thomas Abbott, owner of Abbott’s Tae Kwon Do in Mexico, as the Community Champion for February.

February Community Champion Thomas Abbott poses with students of Abbott's Tae Kwon Do and Recognizing Oswego County members Penny Morley, Andrea Nagle and Tammy Elowsky.
February Community Champion Thomas Abbott poses with students of Abbott’s Tae Kwon Do and Recognizing Oswego County members Penny Morley, Andrea Nagle and Tammy Elowsky.

This month’s theme was indoor recreation/physical activity and the group received a rich slate of nominations that also included Burger’s Karate, the Oswego Boxing Club and the USS Truxton Sea Cadets.

ROC co-chair Brandon Morey said that having four deserving candidates demonstrates the breadth of physical activity programming that is happening in the county.

“Having great nominations makes it difficult to select a champion,” he said. “But is great in terms of having options in the community for staying active, even in these long, cold winter months.”

Recognizing Oswego County focuses on the positive efforts that are being made in the community.

Each month ROC uses this recognition effort as a platform for emphasizing the wonderful work that is happening in Oswego County to promote the health and wellness of children, families and adults.

Abbott opened his Tae Kwon Do school in February 2007 after being a student of the sport for many years.

He recalled his first class as a student more than 20 years ago and how Tae Kwon Do has helped him become more self-confident and self-assured.

His goal in starting a studio was to be able to pass that on to his students.

Abbott said, “I see my students gain confidence, stand taller, speak up and say ‘yes sir’ and ‘yes ma’am.’”

He once had a teacher of one of his students tell him that she had noticed a change in the students’ behavior and focus in school.

The teacher attributed these improvements in behavior to the Tae Kwon Do classes the student had recently started.

In nominating Abbott, Tammy Elowsky highlighted Abbott’s approach to teaching students through promotion of both physical and mental well-being.

Elowsky also described Abbott’s activities that go above and beyond the day-to-day operation of a Tae Kwon Do school.

“He volunteers his time judging tournaments, helping other instructors perfect their skills in sister schools, pushing free instruction into the after school programs from time to time, and organizing fundraising activities for various causes,” she said.

Abbott said he also encourages his students to give back to their parents, peers, schools and communities by showing respect and through positive behaviors.

Students under 13 earn character stripes for showing initiative in helping others, logging extra reading outside of school, good character development home report card assessments from their parents, and exceptional grades at school.

ROC would also like to thank Diane Jackson from SUNY Oswego’s Rick Creek Field Station for coming into the meeting on February 13.

Dr. Jackson spoke to the group about winter programming and upcoming plans for summer children’s camps at Rice Creek’s newly renovated field station.

Each month, ROC selects a theme and 2-4 guest speakers are invited to share the good work they are doing.

Nominations are also solicited from the community at large for Community Champions.

For March, ROC is seeking nominations for Community Champion for literacy awareness.

This might include an individual who signs up for World Book Night (http://www.us.worldbooknight.org/) or an organization that donates dictionaries to local elementary schools.

Nominations are due by March 12.

Nominations can be submitted online through Recognizing Oswego County’s Facebook page or by email to [email protected]

ROC members include representatives from a broad range of community organizations as well as individual community members.

New members are welcome.

Monthly meetings are held from 8 – 9:15 a.m. on the second Thursday of the month at the Oswego County Federal Credit Union at 90 E. Bridge St.