Located behind a building in the center of town, it's not easy to find the Hardwick Boxing Club. But when you do, you know you've come to a special place. And there's a special guy; Armand Gelineau is the founder and president of the club.
At 88, Armand doesn't punch the bags, but he still has the moves.
"One foot punch, one foot punch. From the shoulder like Joe Lewis," Armand said.
His days inside the ring are over, but not his passion for the sport.
"He's a tough man," Larry Hamel said. "Size doesn't necessarily mean everything as far as toughness."
Larry Hamel has known Armand for 40 years. He also owns the building where they box.
Reporter Joe Carroll: Is he respected?
Larry Hamel: Oh yeah, they don't give him any lip.
Armand's a tough guy with a tough past. His parents lost the farm in West Charleston in the Great Depression, so the family packed up with nothing more than a bag of potatoes and five kids. They landed up in Hardwick. That's where he learned to fight.
"I learned to duck and weave. I didn't like to get hit, so I learned the science of boxing," Armand explained.
Hardwick at the time was a tough town. On weekends there were boxing matches, sometimes bare-fisted. But Armand's toughest battle was with the bottle; he drank heavily working on his farm. It's one of the reasons he started the club to keeps kids on a clean path.
"I don't want the boys to do the same thing of what I've done," he said.
Armand stopped drinking, but another event changed his life in an instant: the death of a boxer.
"That's why I quit for 25 years," Armand said. "Completely out."
It happened in the 1980s during a training session in Hardwick. The young fighter had head gear, but suffered an aneurism. Armand was so upset that he sold all of his boxing equipment. But he eventually changed his mind. Armand still saw the need for the youth in town to have a place to let out their aggressions.
Joe Carroll: Are you proud of what you've done here?
Armand Gelineau: Oh, yes, definitely I enjoy that. I mean, I feel like living.
Joe Carroll: You feel like living?
Armand Gelineau: I feel like living.
It's a challenge keeping the club open. The number of boxers has declined. And another diversion has come into the ring.
"Bad enough you fight with you hand, but you fight with your feet too!" Armand said.
Armand doesn't care for kickboxing, but tolerates the sport.
"Make your mother proud there boys! Make your mother proud!" Armand said.
George Woods has been at the club for 12 years. He thinks Armand is like somebody on the big screen.
"If you ever watched any of the 'Rocky' movies, he's just like Mickey," Woods said.
And Armand still thinks there is a need for the boxing club in town.
"There's plenty to do, but it ain't nothing good," he said. "That's why I'll keep a gym in Hardwick."
A former fighter who's battle now is keeping the organization going for another round.
Armand didn't get married until he was in his 40s. He and his wife, Beatrice, have a daughter. And no, she didn't box.
PO Box 4508