Edmonds fights for recovering mother, Army

Submitted to Dorchester Banner/Diontaye Edmonds U.S. Army PFC Diontaye Edmonds, left, is training for tryouts for the Army’s boxing team. He is seen with his friend and fellow fighter Terrance Piedra. PFC Edmonds is a member of Cambridge-South Dorchester’s Class of 2012.

Submitted to Dorchester Banner/Diontaye Edmonds
U.S. Army PFC Diontaye Edmonds, left, is training for tryouts for the Army’s boxing team. He is seen with his friend and fellow fighter Terrance Piedra. PFC Edmonds is a member of Cambridge-South Dorchester’s Class of 2012.

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — A soldier expects to fight for his country.

But sometimes, he fights for his mother.

PFC Diontaye Edmonds, a member of Cambridge-South Dorchester’s Class of 2012, is currently stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C. While he works as a “91 Bravo,” or light-wheeled vehicle mechanic, there is another task that is his passion.

“I picked up boxing when I joined the Army,” he said in a call from the base. “Win, lose or draw, I always have fun doing it.”

But when his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, he saw a deeper purpose to his training.

“She’s been fighting,” PFC Edmonds said. “This is my way of saying I’m fighting with her.” He said the news is good regarding her recovery.

Making a difference

After graduating from C-SD, PFC Edmonds attended Lincoln Tech, where he studied auto mechanics and business, earning an Associate’s Degree. He decided to use that knowledge to serve his country, joining the Army on Sept. 9, 2015.

“I was always interested in joining the service, since I was a kid,” he said, adding that much of his inspiration came from his grandfather Clarence McNair, who also was in the military. “I want to make a difference,” PFC Edmonds said.

Now, he sees boxing as a path to making his mark. He is getting ready for the once-a-year tryouts for a military training camp in Arizona, held August to October.

He said at the camp, there will be fighters not only from the Army, but from the other United States armed services as well. There could even be troops training there from allied countries such as the United Kingdom, he said.

Once there, if he can make the top three in his weight class – 152 pounds – he’ll go to Nationals. Then, if he does well there, he will be eligible for the Army’s World Class Athlete Program.

At that point, his primary MOS (military occupational specialty) would become boxing. He would need to sign another contract for three years, allowing him to stay in the military and train as a boxer, maybe even reaching the Olympics.

Dreams of a local gym
“Once that’s said and done, I would love to go pro,” he said, not simply for fame and fortune, but for his plans after the Army.

“I’m fighting for enough money to make a difference,” he said. “One of my goals is to get a gym in Cambridge,” where young people who don’t have a lot of money could train.

It’s about hope for PFC Edmonds – not only for himself, but for the local youth he talks about. He knows it will take a lot of hard work.
So, as he plans and dreams for the future, he continues to serve the country and to train every day, sometimes twice a day.

It’s quite a bit to think about, but that’s part of how PFC Edmonds looks at things. “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough,” he said.

In the meantime, he is on the job at Fort Bragg, with the 403rd Inline Cargo Transportation Co., 330th Transportation Movement Control Battalion. His career is moving along well – at the time of his interview last week, he said he was scheduled for promotion to Specialist in a few days.

He expressed his gratitude to God and his supporters as he continues his efforts to help his mother and, in the future, the youth of Cambridge.

“Stay humble, it’s only the beginning,” he tells himself. “I just want to make a difference.”

Dave Ryan is editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at dryan@newszap.com.

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