AP NEWS

Unsung Hero

August 23, 2018

By RAUL GARCIA

Staff Writer

MERCEDES — Bob and Kelli Phillips scoured the internet for an ordinary person in the Rio Grande Valley who does extraordinary things.

They were looking for their next uplifting story and interesting place in the Lone Star state to feature on their TV show called the “Texas Country Reporter.”

Their Google search zeroed in on Juan Moya of Mercedes and his boxing gym.

News stories described Juan as a person who cares about tradition, is making an impact in the community and is doing what he loves to do every day.

The husband and wife reporting duo reviewed multiple news articles they found about Juan helping kids in the boxing gym.

One story popped up from 2005 on the Houston Chronicle website about his Houston boxing gym and others on the Valley Morning Star site also about his work training youths in his Mercedes gym how to be disciplined, responsible and, as he calls it, the “sweet science” of boxing.

Every news link made it easier for Bob and Kelli to reach out to Juan and hop in their truck to travel from Dallas to the Valley to meet him and film his story.

Bob and Kelli arrived with their film crew and spent the day Tuesday with Juan interviewing him and filming him training his boxing students.

His students were shadow boxing, hitting the punching bag and in the ring sparring.

Juan showed Bob and Kelli around his gym as his students moved thorough the exercise stations.

He talked about his life, his students and the time he met Muhammad Ali and Evander Holyfield.

“We pride ourselves on telling stories like his to our audience, and we pride ourselves on finding stories like his all over Texas,” Bob said. “We do stories about people and we like to say our stories are about ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”

The Texas Country Reporter plans to feature Juan and his Boxing Club on TV on a date later to be announced. The Texas Country Reporter airs on Sunday at 5 p.m. on Channel 4 and on cable TV.

The Texas County Reporter is now in its 47th season.

It is a weekly syndicated television program, hosted and produced by Bob and Kelli, which airs in all 22 Texas media markets, generally on weekends.

Juan, 76, said he was humbled by the opportunity to be featured on the show.

His life has come full circle. And he cares about helping the kids and military veterans.

He said it was his local Mercedes boxing coach who encouraged him growing up to try hard, to do good things and enter the military after high school.

He went on to become a sergeant in the Army and a Green Beret during the Vietnam War.

“I feel obligated to give something back the way that it was given to me many years ago,” Juan said about his boxing coach and boxing gym learning experiences.

Kelli said Juan is larger than life and he would love to actually live in Mercedes to come to his boxing classes.

“Our show reinforces that life is good, and there are good people out there, especially in Texas,” Kelli said.

rgarcia@valleystar.com

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