Carter honored as Service to Youth Champion

The Inter-Mountain photo by Amanda Hayes First row, left to right, are the 2019 Service to Youth Champion Larry Carter, Stockert Youth and Community Center director Debora Brockleman, and City of Buckhannon director of finance and administration Amby Jenkins. Second row, left to right, are commission president and SYCC board member Sam Nolte (2014 Service to Youth Champion) and Mayor David McCauley.

BUCKHANNON — Larry Carter thought he was coming to Stockert Youth and Community Center for a meeting last week, but the rest of the attendees did not show up and those who had gathered ventured outside at the suggestion of the mayor.

Mayor David McCauley announced outside SYCC “This is all a ruse” and began reading a proclamation in honor of Carter, the 2019 Service to Youth Champion and the 14th champion since the award began.

As McCauley sat beside Carter on the Service to Youth Champion bench and got to Carter’s name, Carter realized what was happening.

Carter was born in Fairmont, graduated from East Fairmont High School in 1965 and attended Fairmont State University for one and a half years before enlisting and serving in the U.S. Navy from 1968 to 1972. After his service to his country which included combat operations in Vietnam in 1971, Carter re-enrolled in FSU, graduating in 1974 with a bachelor of science in business administration/accounting. He and his late wife, Linda, have two children, Jason and Missy, and five grandchildren, Kristina, Hanna, Abby, Josh and Kaden. Linda passed away in 2016.

Carter, also known as Sensei Carter, is a sixth degree black belt/Shotokan master. His first black belt came under the tutelage of Sensei Ralph Sumlin, a ninth degree black belt from the Fairmont Karate Academy. Under his instruction, Carter earned his first degree in September 1992. He went on to earn his second degree in October 1994, third in 2001, fourth in 2004, fifth in 2013 and his sixth degree black belt in March 2019.

Carter has a combined 35 years of experience and runs the Buckhannon Academy of Karate out of SYCC which he began shortly after he moved to Buckhannon in 1995. He has taught at SYCC for the last 16 years.

Buckhannon Academy of Karate has produced 10 black belt students and has a current enrollment of roughly 20-25 students learning Kumite, Kata, weapons and self-defense.

Carter also brought kickboxing to SYCC, later certifying current instructor April Small.

But McCauley said Carter has supported SYCC in many other ways by helping coordinate the first and highly successful SYCC elimination dinner in fall 2019, playing the “perfect” Dracula during the SYCC Haunted House, regularly attending SYCC board meetings to offer thoughtful advice and insight and supporting the SYCC capital campaign.

McCauley said, “We appreciate everything you do for our kids and we guarantee that when we break ground later this summer on this new building, we will have a shovel for you to toss the dirt too.”

Carter said he was humbled by the surprise but appreciated the honor.

“The kids of this community mean a lot to me and my school, Buckhannon Academy of Karate, means a lot to me,” he said.

Carter’s name will join the other Service to Youth Champions on plaques affixed to the bench in front of SYCC.