7Everyday Hero uses boxing to teach life lessons

Posted at 11:34 AM, Jan 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-04 15:36:08-05
For dozens of Denver kids, 7Everyday Hero Tomas Gallegos is always in their corner. 
Gallegos gives his time to run a boxing gym. 
As Gallegos can tell you, boxing is a lot like life - unpredictable. 
"A lot of these kids we bring in here ... they have no confidence in themselves. They've been bullied," said Gallegos. 
For the last five years, Gallegos has volunteered to help lead a long-time Denver boxing gym called House of Pain. 
He is ideal for the job because the goal here is to stay in shape and stay out of trouble. 
"I'm an old gang member. I use to be in gangs. I've been shot, I've been stabbed, I lived that life, but the thing is I don't want to see these kids do that," said Gallegos. 
"It has kept me out of drugs, gangs, streets - pretty much out of everything," said 16-year-old boxer Leonardo Lara. "I have been focused since I was 4. And I have been motivated, and confident that I am going big." 
"We're not trying to teach these kids to beat up each other or hurt each other. We're just trying to teach them self discipline, respect," said Gallegos.  
The House of Pain accepts anyone from age 7 1/2 and older. 
If they cannot pay a nominal monthly fee, Gallegos covers them. No one is turned away. 
"A lot of these kids come in here and you see it in their eyes and it just breaks your heart. But once they start doing good and they're moving around and high-fiving them -- you just see their little faces light up. It's the best thing for me," said Gallegos.  
The House of Pain has strict rules: No bullying, and no fighting outside the ring. 
And Gallegos holds everyone accountable because he cares.  
"He's really on everyone but it's in a fatherly way," said Xochitl Gallegos, Tomas' daughter.  
"God has blessed me. I asked him for my purpose and he put me in this gym. And this is my purpose," said Gallegos.  
Mitch Jelniker anchors Denver7 News in the mornings from 4:30 to 7 a.m. He also features a different 7Everyday Hero each week on Denver7. Follow Mitch on Facebook and Twitter. Nominate a 7Everyday Hero here: