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Tim McKeever power lifts life into community
Written by Brian Bergner   
Wednesday, 18 May 2011 00:00

When any one person walks past a man or woman lifting weights in a gym and showing their passion for the workout, or just passing by them on the street, it seems the stereotype is still the same.

Iron head. Muscle-bound freak. Steroid user.

Is it possible for a normal everyday, hard-working individual who likes the gym to be a part of a society and not be judged?

Maybe not.

Tim McKeever, founder of the Rec-N-Cru power-lifting team demonstrates his favorite event, the dead lift, at the Cottonwood Recreation Center on May 5. McKeever, a Vietnam War combat veteran, said he would like to introduce other veterans to the positive influence power lifting has had on his life.But, the cause stays the same. And the truth is, it’s time to start paying attention and understanding what these people do.

Tim McKeever, a 64-year-old Cottonwood resident, has started something special. Something that, when it’s all said and done, will be just that. Special.

A lifetime ago, this Michigan native couldn’t decide what to do with his education choices at Central Texas College, or at Metropolitan State College in Denver. He wound up never finishing school, but this is only a small part of his story.

McKeever joined the cause and jumped on board a plane to Vietnam, just like thousands of other Americans did in the 1960s. He eventually found himself with the 18th Military Police Brigade and worked road patrols before finally coming back to the states and becoming a cop.

As a homicide detective in Detroit, along with his veteran status from the military, McKeever’s eyes were privy to just about everything.

One night on the beat, McKeever wrestled with a man under the influence and shortly after getting him under control and in custody, he realized something.

“My forearms were burning badly, and then it hit me. What if I’m not strong enough next time to deal with something like this,” McKeever recalled.

“What happens if someone really wants to get away from me. That’s when I decided to start hitting the iron. Instead of shooting him, I’d rather throw him around a bit,” McKeever laughed.

Fast forward nearly 30 years, where McKeever has started a power lifting group called the Rec-N-Cru.

The group is based out of Cottonwood, and can be seen setting personal bests at the Cottonwood Recreation Center. They seem to be turning heads, not just for their ability to lift more than most people, but for what they’re doing outside the weight room.

McKeever started the group in June and it’s starting to catch on in the community.

“I know that addiction has something to do with self-esteem. Get into the weight room, and hit the iron. It’s a psychological splendor,” McKeever explained. “You’ll have a better image of yourself, and you’ll treat everyone better because you feel better.”

McKeever also discussed his motto for starting the Rec-N-Cru in the first place, which is to help the community.

Twelve-year-old Camp Verde resident Kelsea Freeman is the first recipient of McKeever’s master plan, and she couldn’t be happier.

Freeman, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, needs a liver transplant because the medication for her disease has taken its toll.

“You would never know anything was wrong with her. She has a magnetic personality; she loves coming to our meets,” McKeever said.

McKeever talked about how the Rec-N-Cru picked Freeman to be a recipient as a team, and revealed that being a part of the Rec-N-Cru isn’t just about lifting iron, it is community involvement and giving back.

“It’s my team, and this is what we do,” McKeever said.

In a short period of time, a group that already holds 16 world records, 12 national records and over 30 state records, has raised over $500 for Freeman.

McKeever said this group has already accomplished more than it set out to do, but it goes along with another motto he lives by every day.

“If you only lift what you can lift, you don’t get any stronger,” McKeever said.

The 14 members of the Rec-N-Cru will continue to raise money for Freeman over the next year, selling T-shirts, coffee mugs, head bands, anything they can at many of the local and national power-lifting events they can.

“We’re not just the iron heads in the corner,” McKeever said.

The stereotype is beginning to change.

 

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