“Fuzzy” Johnson camp “could straighten up Vicksburg,” Galloway says

Published 11:00 am Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The sandlot has saved youths such as 11-year-old Keyshawn Williams.

Before the youngster was encouraged to join the James “Fuzzy” Johnson baseball league, a league organized by Vicksburg natives Glenn Palmer and Ernest Galloway for fatherless and underprivileged children, he was headed down the wrong path. Williams spent four years in the Grove Street School for bad behavior and inappropriate language.

“The school had given up and said that it wasn’t any hope for him,” said Galloway.

Galloway saw lots of potential in Keyshawn and decided to take him under his wing. Because of his leadership, the pre-teen began to perform well in school and became an obedient student.

“I was the only one who believed in him. I told him that if he applied himself in school, then he would start going back to his normal school. About two weeks later, I went to check on him at school and his teachers said that he wasn’t cursing and he was doing his lesson,” Galloway said.

Galloway credits baseball for Keyshawn’s turnaround.

“Only baseball could do that. He loves to play the game, and he knows that if he doesn’t act right, then he wont be able to play. He’s our success story”

Keyshawn was one of about 30 boys and girls who came out to the camp’s first day of a week long baseball camp on Monday at the Fuzzy Johnson Playground and field. The leaders of the camp gives the kids a chance to learn the game of baseball while teaching them spiritual and moral values such as attending church and praying.

Galloway said that the camp has been a success and is proud of its growth.

“Right now everything is all good,” Galloway said. “I hope that the kids can use the foundation that I used in my life and be able to apply it to their lives. If we can save one child, then we can save the whole village. We could straighten up Vicksburg.”

The camp is led by Vicksburg native and former Mississippi State baseball player Michael Brown. Brown leads the kids in baseball drills such as throwing, catching and running bases. Brown was appreciative of the opportunity to show the kids the fundamentals of the game and give them life lessons that they can practice off the field.

“I think that my teachings will help them to be better baseball players and better citizens out in the world. I think this will show them how to be upstanding people. Baseball is my love, so I was thankful for the opportunity that Mr. Galloway gave me,” Brown said.

The league’s purpose is to bring the children closer to faith, league president Glenn Palmer said.

“God gave us a vision to do this,” Palmer said. “So what we’re trying to do is get pastors from different churches to come here and talk to them about God and get them saved. These kids are not in church and our goal is to get them there.”

Palmer was adamant about having a bigger male presence in the camp. He stressed how having a male leader in the children’s lives will keep them away from the dangers of the streets.

“We’re serious about getting more men here to help and mentor the kids because they need it. We have to get together and show these kids that there is more to life than getting in trouble and going to jail. We have to show these boys and girls that we care.”

Palmer said that everyone is invited to participate in the league. Anyone interested can contact Ernest Galloway at 601-618-4455.