VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — A surprise is about to unfold at Jack Dark’s Tae Kwon Do Champions Martial Arts Center.
When News 3 cameras showed up unannounced at his Virginia Beach studio during training, I asked Dark if he knew why we were there.
“I don’t, but I got an idea,” he said.
I told him it was all thanks to an email from his daughter Asia, who read a portion of her email.
“Our dad is a selfless man and is always willing to help anyone in need and especially in our community,” she said.
Dark has run a martial arts studio for 30 years, impacting a lot of lives, and Asia wrote about it all in her email.
“He’s left a lasting impression to the point that they still are in touch with him after they graduate, get married, have children, have grandchildren,” she said.
He’s instilled confidence in many of his students, including 14-year-old Elijah Harrison.
” I used to be way more nervous in school, throughout life, I used to be so much more nervous but now I can talk; I can speak up in class. I can do so much more,” Harrison said.
Harrison’s grandmother Gail Cole said Dark is like a father figure to Elijah.
“He’s the man that spoke positive things [to] my grandson and I’m so, so grateful,” Cole said as she fought back tears talking about Dark. “He has a giving heart. He’s a great man and he’s affected this young man immensely.”
But it’s more than teaching respect, confidence, and discipline — words on display at the front of his Virginia Beach studio.
Dark’s philanthropic efforts include organizing food drives to support the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia, organizing toy drives to help kids in need around Christmas time, and donating book bags stuffed with school supplies. He also frequently teaches free women’s self-defense courses, which includes providing instruction to a group called the Savvy Seniors.
For those reasons, News 3 presented Dark with a News 3 Everyday Hero award, along with a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner Southern Bank.
Dark was grateful.
“Thank you very much! I appreciate that! Let me tell you something, what I’m doing, I’m just a vessel, I’m doing God’s work,” he said. “The way that the world is going, we all need help. And again, the same way it takes a village to raise a child, we need the village now more than ever.”