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Local military kids get martial arts training

MONTPELIER - Vermont Martial Arts Master Laurie Shover and chief instructor at the Villari School of Shaolin Kempo along with Darrel Duffy began providing programs for military children and teens in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The school provides free martial arts training to any child with a parent deployed overseas.

As an outcome of running these unique youth-oriented programs, the school's dojo has teamed up with Operation Military Kids (known simply as OMK), a non-profit organization that provides programs for military families from deployment to re-integration support. OMK helped Duffy to obtain grants to provide more and better martial arts camps to military youth.

Duffy has over 15 years of experience in martial arts and working with young people going through personal and familial upheavals. He prides himself in what he does and knows that he can-and does-make a difference in the lives of his students.

Duffy gives credit to his wife and instructor, Master Laurie Shover, "She has taught me everything about being a teacher of Shaolin Kempo, and I just hope that one day I can be half as good as her."

Laurie Shover of Bristol, Vermont started her journey in 1975.

Shover credits her brother, Master Lou Cousino of Mountain Kempo, for starting her in the martial arts. "If it wasn't for my brother Lou, I don't know where I'd be today," she said. "I was heading down a bad path in life, and he made me come to class with him. Now after all these years had he not made me, I would not have been able to have taught the thousands of people that have come to our studio."

Shover and Duffy have expanded their martial arts studio from a single location in South Burlington to six locations-St. Albans, Richmond, Monkton, Ferrisburgh, and Middlebury.

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