Washington attorney Rick Joyce and his wife have three children who compete in Olympic sports, and they’ve tried to teach them to approach their pursuits . . . exactly as Alexandria’s Terrence Jennings has approached his.
After reading in Tuesday’s Post that Jennings, 25, made the U.S. Olympic team in taekwondo in mid-March after years of struggles, Joyce decided to act.
Jennings said in the story that he hoped to repay his parents — who were not certain they could come up with the funds to travel to London for this year’s Summer Olympics — for their years of financial and emotional support with a gold medal.
Joyce, who lives in Mount Vernon, wanted to help make sure that, if Jennings won the gold in taekwondo on Aug. 9, his parents would be there watching. On Tuesday, he contacted Jennings’ parents, a retired supermarket clerk and Metro bus driver, offering to help defray their travel expenses. In response to a reporter’s request, Joyce said he would donate enough to pay for one airline ticket.
“It’s such a great story,” said Joyce, who along with his wife Judy and three children plan to spend their family vacation in London. “For me, it hit so many buttons in so many ways, as a father, a sports nut and somebody who believes in the Olympic story. For him, after so long, to realize his ambition and to honor his parents by saying he would do that for them, struck a chord.”
Joyce vowed to round up colleagues at his Washington firm, Venable, to make additional donations. Meantime, Nell Codner of Arnold, also contacted Jennings, saying she, too, was inspired to help.
“I was really touched with how supportive his parents had been,” said Codner. “If they’ve been supporting all of these years, and he’s finally made the pinnacle, they deserve to take the dream all the way.”
Jennings’s parents set up a fund for donations with SunTrust bank called the Terrence Jennings Donation Fund.
“It really makes you feel good that there are people out there who care,” said Peggy Jennings, Terrence’s mother. To go to London “would be just so overwhelming. It would be a dream come true… like a fairy tale just to be there.”