Then he added: “It was a creative outlet for me.”
Eventually, Brumley, now 24 and living in Fairfield, graduated from Fairfield High School in 2011 after his family moved again, then took his skateboard — his constant companion — on the road to destinations he could only dream of visiting. His passion provided him a passport to the rest of the world.
“This was the time I got to do all the things my family couldn’t afford to do for me,” he said. “I saw the country and even had a following of fans who looked up to me for a while. This made me want to help others have this gift that blessed my life so much.”
So Brumley recently formed a charity called “Keep Kids Skating.” It’s still in its infancy stage, but the goal is mature. He wants to provide young skaters with the necessary equipment and skills to learn the sport that has grown immensely due to the X Games. He has started a GoFundMe account that has been supported by the skateboard community.
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He has collected donated boards from area skateboard shops and given the equipment to young, less fortunate skaters. You know, those other little John Brumleys of the world.
“My goal with the charity is to be able to travel the country and even the world helping kids in impoverished conditions have something to take their mind off of their situation while also growing physically and mentally,” he said. “Skateboarding pushes you to be better every time you get on it.”
So most mornings, Brumley can be found practicing his craft at the Skate Park at Joyce Park. He seems at ease on a board, the way Joey Votto appears at the plate.
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It’s him and his skateboard. They’re a team and no one is there to judge him.
“Skateboarding,” he said, “is like breaking the boundaries of what your body is able to do. You can keep pushing, keep pushing.”
With that, Brumley stepped on his board, pushed off with his right foot, and was gone, down one ramp, up another. It was like he was riding some magic carpet.
A bright smile crossed his face.
He was the same kid he was 10 years ago.