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Dick Hale went the distance to help others

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POSTED March 2, 2010 1:54 a.m.
It seems impossible that the heart of a man like Dick Hale would ever give out but it did.

Hale answered God’s bell on Feb. 22. He was a husband and a family man who delivered a one-two punch through his 78 years on earth – the spirit of a fighter and the touch of a true Christian.

There are literally hundreds – if not thousands – of people whose lives are for the better thanks to Hale.

Hale – along with his bride Lue of 40 years – were the heart and soul of Manna Food Ministries. If there was a hungry person in need and they got wind of it, they’d move heaven and earth to make sure they were fed.

Manna Food Ministries didn’t just happen 17 years ago. It was the off-shoot of Hale’s passion of helping people.

Hale was a passionate boxer and devotee of taking care of one’s body and mind through exercise. It led him over two decades ago to found the Manteca Boxing Club for troubled teens and at-risk young men where, by coincidence, Second Harvest Food Bank is housed today.
He did so with the help of the Sunrise Kiwanis.

How Hale worked his magic in the ring can be related in a number of stories. Typical was one offered by Chuck Crutchfield who served alongside Hale in Kiwanis.

There was a young teen who was a member of the Manteca Boys & Girls Club that seemed locked deep inside his own shell. Hale got him into boxing. It was almost as if a light went off instantly after a sparring session. Crutchfield recalled the kid stepping out of the ring and “talking 100 mph a minute” in a voice filled with excitement.

Hale was a true mentor of youth who saw boxing as a way to help young men find themsleves and to understand the importance of a sharp mind and a strong body.

It was one day while running a session that Hale understood the need for an organization like Manna Food Ministries.

He had been bringing a few loaves of French bread for the boxers to eat to keep their energy levels up during workouts. He noticed that one particular youth practically scrambled to get the bread every time. He found out later from other teens that the boy’s family couldn’t afford to put adequate food on the table.

After that, Hale dug deep into his own pocket to make sure there was always food at the Manteca Boxing Club whenever there were workouts taking place.

It was then that Hale - who had a comfortable life as a time analyst for IBM Corp. – understood, in his own words, that “hunger hurts.”

It is what inspired him along with Lue to found Manna Food Ministries.

For 17 years the outreach ministries have been going strong carried by the love and devotion of Hale and his wife and more often than not with money out of their own pockets.
It wasn’t an option for either of them. They took the teachings of Christianity to heart.

Perhaps his most enduring personal quality was his never-ending smile and upbeat outlook on life.

When heart problems first surfaced and threatened to send him down for the count, he smiled through it and kept helping people through Manna Food Ministries.

That was years ago.

Hale leaves behind on earth his beloved Lue and his treasured family as well as countless others that he has helped instill with an upbeat fighting spirit, a burning desire to do the most with their secular life, and the understanding that true grace comes when you open your heart and share your worldly wealth with others.
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