LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - For LMPD officer Lenert Elzy, the California Community Center is home.
As a kid, he spent hours on the court, working on his jump shot and clearing his mind after class.
“[I was here] every day after school and almost every day in the summer," Elzy said.
Now, the West Louisville native is returning to his roots.
“It gives you chills honestly, to see where you come from and where you’re going,” Elzy said.
During a recent shoot around with friends, Elzy looked around the gym and saw the busted bleachers, water-stained wood and broken floorboards. He began brainstorming a way make the old gym bounce back.
“I want to revamp it," Elzy said. "I want to make it basically brand new again.”
Elzy told WAVE 3 News the projected cost for the project was $18,500. He went to Facebook and posted a message asking for donations to fix the gym. He made the first donation, and ever since, others have followed his lead. Since January 7th, the group has raised $1,340.
But, there’s more cash on the way. Insert the Nick Rodman Legacy Foundation and Rodman’s widow Ashley, who offered to donate all the proceeds from an upcoming February event to Elzy.
“I started running numbers in my head and I was like, ‘Wow that could really knock out a huge chunk of my goal and the funds needed for this project,’" Elzy said.
Then on Friday, the Rajon Rondo Foundation pledged a $5,000 matching gift, officially making Elzy’s hoop dream a reality.
Nick Rodman Legacy Foundation treasurer Drew Fox said the community’s support is a testament to the man and leader Elzy is.
“He is what it means to be a police officer," Fox said. "He’s not just here to help you when he’s in uniform, but he’s here to help you when he’s not in uniform and I think that says a lot about his character.”
Elzy said it feels good to pass his childhood memories on to the next generation.
“Amazing, honestly, all the ties that I have here with me and my friends, all the memories, it’s phenomenal,” Elzy said.
Elzy told WAVE 3 News the group will organize all the funding before starting construction. But once construction does start, it should only take about a month to make the entire basketball gym look brand new.
The Nick Rodman Legacy Foundation will donate all the proceeds from their February bowling tournament to Elzy’s cause. The event will take place Saturday February 1st, 2020 at Executive Strike and Spare on Phillips Lane.
To donate to the cause, click here.