KANSAS CITY, Mo. — She’s a cop, a coach and works several other jobs to help support her team. Most of Northeast Kansas City’s Rise Jaguars players don’t come from a lot of money.
“It’s a lot of budgeting tricks, a lot of extra jobs,” coach Ann Murphy said.
Extra jobs for Coach Murphy on top of being a Kansas City police officer. That’s how she met the players, speaking to them at school about the dangers of gangs and drugs.
She started coaching the team just about the same time as Janet Barker’s son stopped coaching his. Former Merriam police officer and Shawnee Mission Health security guard Chris Barker’s life was cut short by a heart attack.
“My son was a cop and he died. I had a cousin and a friend that gave me $150 and they said donate it in Chris’s name for something worthwhile,” Janet Barker explained.
Barker saw the FOX 4 story when Murphy was named a National Double Goal Award winner by The Positive Coaching Alliance for helping players on and off of the pitch. She surprised the coach and team Thursday with the $150 she’d been saving. Academy Sports + Outdoors chipped in $1,000 worth of gift cards.
“To give somebody a mentor and a role model to look up it really can steer those youth in the right direction,” Brenda Kennett, Academy Sports + Outdoor Olathe store manager said.
“I hope it makes a difference to them that they know people are even interested in what they are doing,” Barker said.
“It’s very sentimental and we appreciate that she chose us to give it to,” Tomas Muniz, 17, said.
“They are the legacy of our community, so it’s really appreciated, we can help a lot more kids with that amount of money,” Coach Murphy said.
Even without the money, Barker told Coach Murphy: “You’re making a difference in their lives and that’s worth millions.”
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