Harry Hunsucker spent most of his teenage years living in a filthy, run-down trailer park in Rockcastle County.
It was a place where drugs, alcohol and crime were rampant.
“Our bathtub was falling through the floor,” Hunsucker said. “It was roach-infested. There are people, however, who have had it a lot worse than me, but I just knew that I was not one of those people who was going to let life beat me,” Hunsucker said.
He fought back.
Hunsucker signed a four-match deal with the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) last month and recently had a nationally televised bout with one of the top heavyweight fighters in the world.
It’s a stunning success story.
Hunsucker, however, has never forgotten his rather humble roots.
Those memories have driven him to make a difference in the lives of local kids who find themselves in similar situations.
“I was just going to go to store and wipe out the toy aisles and go give them away,” Hunsucker said of how he was going to spend some of the prize money from his most recent fight. “(My wive, Vanessa) told me that I needed to do something that was going to last.”
That suggestion was the inspiration for Hunsucker to do something special.
The fighter is trying to raise at least $5,000 for the purchase of bikes to be given away to children in both Madison and Rockcastle Counties.
“I’m just going to go buy bikes, scooters and all kinds of outdoor riding toys and get them to kids who can use them,” Hunsucker said. “I just want to make kids happy.”
The 2021 Active Summer Kids Bike Giveaway will hold a fundraising event at Lake Reba from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 24.
Admission is free, but donations will also be accepted.
The event — which is set for Shelter A — will feature live music and Hunsucker will sign autographs and pose for pictures with his championship belts. The Chuck Wagon will be set up at the park and has offered to donate part of its profits from the day to the bike fund.
“I just really want to do something to give back,” said Hunsucker, who is nicknamed Hurricane. “In the beginning, I was just going to use my money and then (Richmond City Commissioner) Ed (McDaniel) and some other people told me we should try to raise more funds, because people would want to get involved that it.”
The total amount collected through all the fund-raising efforts will be split evenly for bike give-aways in Richmond and Mt. Vernon.
Hunsucker had already decided to put in $1,000 of his own money.
McDaniel stepped in to help and offered to organize the event at the park so the fighter could raise even more funds.
“We won’t stop at $5,000,” McDaniel said. “If we can get more, then we can give out more bikes.”
Others have already stepped up as well.
Benchmark Mortgage has made a sizable donation and Wal-Mart has agreed to provide a discount on the purchase of the bikes.
Hunsucker is still actively seeking more donations from local businesses and is hoping his surprising new-found popularity will help him make an impact on the community.
“A lot of people are asking for pictures with me now, which is super weird. People are like, ‘Can you mail me an autograph?’” Hunsucker said.
The fighter, who is the general manager of Elite Marital Arts in Berea, remains humble despite his success.
That makes his story even more compelling.
“He is living proof that there’s always a road available, you’ve just got to have the motivation and drive to get on it,” McDaniel said.
For Hunsucker, the motivation for this charitable endeavor is simple.
“Let’s just roll up to these neighborhoods and say, ‘Who wants a free bicycle?’” the UFC fighter said.
Hunsucker can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org