GRETNA, LA (WVUE) - Friends of the HANO police officer gunned down in his cruiser over the weekend are remembering him through his vision to spread his passion to inner-city children.
James Bennett Jr. was a power lifter at Westbank Athletic Club, where he spent most of his time outside of work.
"He loved power lifting. He was a real strong guy. He wanted to get other kids into power lifting and help them out, especially like some of these kids that don't have access to some of the stuff. If somebody could show them how to lift properly, a lot of times it could help some of these guys get scholarships," said gym owner Bum Lee.
Bennett dreamed of creating a mobile gym that could help him bring weight-lifting equipment into the communities where he worked.
"From one housing project to another, and roll out a weight room and basically let the kids work out and get them exposed to it, and maybe get a routine going. They did golf in the past, and he thought that was lame and he saw how I could move all this stuff with just a box truck," Lee said.
Lee created four rolling baskets filled with weight trees, bars, chains and kettle bells that could be easily loaded into a truck. He was waiting on Bennett to approve the design before painting the equipment and getting it ready to roll out this summer.
"He got the job he wanted, he married the girl he wanted, he was in good shape - he lost 35 pounds, he looked good to me, you know. He was real happy, and I was just happy for him. That's what you wish for everybody. A lot of people hit midlife and they start doing all this crazy stuff, but he was doing everything right," Lee said.
Now Lee hopes his friend's dream can live on with continued support from HANO and the weight-lifting community.