Van Buren Police Officer Returns To Coaching Gymnastics

VAN BUREN (KFSM)- A Van Buren police officer is coming out of retirement of coaching gymnastics and hoping to make an impact on the kids he's training, while continuing to serve the community.

You may remember George Edelen as the officer known for his "Wiggle Dance" with students at local schools and the work he does as a resource officer at King Elementary School.

"I was nervous and kind of questioned myself when I came back in because for the last six and a half years, I`ve not done it," George said. "I turned the corner and a young man named Fulton introduced himself to me and did a little joke and I knew right away, this is why I`m coming back. It`s was kind of a sign from God saying, 'you made the right choice.'"

That sign came from nine-year-old, Fulton Poppe.

"He works us hard and he's also kinda fun," Fulton said.

Fulton was saved by his father in a gasoline accident when he was four-years-old and Coach George said his team is full of miracle athletes just like Fulton.

"It`s learning new things and getting good at them and getting stronger," Fulton said.

"There are a few kids on the team that have faced more adversity in their short life than anybody could possibly think of and they`ve come out of it," George said.

One familiar face for the coach is 15-year-old, Nicholas Moore who George trained as a child. When he returned to gymnastics, so did Nicholas.

"He helped me through the gym, but he also helped me in life." Nicholas said. "He helps around the community and he helps kids whenever they need it."

Athletes like Fulton and Nicholas are the reason George came back to the mat, but not to take anything for himself. Instead, he wants to give all he can to the kids he coaches.

"Seeing kids achieve success and if I`m a part of it through gymnastics, then that`s all I want to get out of it," George said. "To be a small little part of their lives and they become successful when they`re adults."

George has been on the Region 3 Board as State Chairman of Arkansas Men’s Gymnastics for the last eight years and has been a nationally-rated judge for the last seven years. He also helped judge National Championships earlier this month.

George will be coaching at Gidion Athletics in Van Buren where an open gym event is available every Monday and Wednesday from 5:00-8:00 p.m.