Editor:

I retired as a professor of medicine from the University of Tennessee and moved to Punta Gorda a year ago with my husband. For the next chapter in my life, I hoped I could give back to my new local community.

I have achieved USATF All American status and have been classified as an amateur, elite runner. Running has always been a part of my life. I wanted to share my passion for the sport with the local youth. I initially interviewed with Charlotte High School Athletic Director Brian Nolen. He then introduced me to the head coach, Jerry Voss. After observing Coach Voss at the track instructing athletes during his "Christmas break," I quickly realized he was a superb and caring coach and I wanted to volunteer coach with his guidance.

My season at CHS as a mid-distance coach for high school athletes has been inspiring. Daily, I witnessed him, and all of his fine track and field coaches, expertly and effectively teaching our local youth not only how to maximize their talent as athletes, but more importantly, how to be respectful and kind and giving to all others. They lead by example daily. They countless times patiently teach the basic and advanced principles of track and field. They routinely stay late after practice is to further help students achieve their academic and athletic dreams.

My track and field season was the "boost" I needed after being exposed to the relentless negativity that currently prevails in our country, including the latest college cheating scandal. These CHS coaches have restored my faith in individuals teaching and leading in an exemplary fashion.

Thank you all CHS track and field coaches.

Dr. Linda Porterfield

Punta Gorda

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