ST. LOUIS — St. Louis firefighters and police officers played in a very special basketball tournament to honor a family that has done so much for the Dutchtown community.

It wasn’t just your average neighborhood pickup game, Sunday at the First Responders Bragging Rights Basketball Tournament in Dutchtown the neighborhood got to play right alongside the people protecting them day in and day out.

Loading ...

“The kids can know these are real people, and it may be a career path for them something that they could do living their life to serve the community as a whole,” Melvin Theater Director David Godbout said.

Godbout said the community put more than $30,000 into refurbishing this basketball court next to the community center for area kids and young adults to have a place to go.

“Usually we come up here every day and it’s nice. You'd be going through what you're going through, you get to come up here, play basketball, get a little exercise and get some W's,” neighbor Jaques Boyd said.

This community center and this basketball court already mean so much to this neighborhood but with new life and a new name, the legacy of the people who started it all will live on.

“So Tom and Judy Sims lovely young couple, that 30 years ago, they saw value in this empty theater building, and they purchased it their organization called Metro-Vision Ministry. The seeds they planted, are now blossoming and bearing fruit in my life, to be able to be a benefit to this community is amazing,” Godbout said.

The court was dedicated in a surprise ceremony to Judy and her late husband Tom Sims.

“It's very, very heartwarming because my husband when we came down here, Melvin Theater had old cars, parked, it was dirty. It was awful,” Judy Sims said.

But now Sims said it's everything and more, just like her late husband Tom wanted it to be.

“We'd have the kids, but we would say the outside rainbow was always the parents. So I was just so proud of the neighborhood and everything that's going on,” Sims said.

It’s because of the Sims family that groups like restoration house inside Melvin Theater have a place to help homeless and at-risk youth.

Loading ...

“We do case management, we help with jobs, we help with insurance, any type of resource food stamps, we also have a birth certificate and state ID program, where we offer vouchers, and we pay for the birth certificates and the state IDs,” Restoration House Co-Founder Lilly Blake said.

If you'd like to help the groups at Melvin Theater continue to give back to the neighborhood you can donate here.