TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Every summer for the past decade and a half, Ernie Sims has returned home to Tallahassee for his annual Charity Weekend. The former North Florida Christian and Florida State football stand-out, faced a little adversity Friday for his camp, as Mother Nature did not play nice. But Sims' mission? To give back to this community, and he wasn't going to let a little rain dampen the fun.
"Wherever there's a will, there's a way," he said. "We wanted to try and find a way that we could continue to this camp for yet another year."
Sims' annual camp may have been moved indoors this year, but the Tallahassee native still with the same mission he's had the last 15 years.
"Just want an opportunity for us to share our passion for the game and teach them how to work hard, how to compete, and how to display excellence in character," he said.
The same passion the former Florida State standout has for football, he has for his hometown, and the kids in it, as well.
"He's been a hero around here for the city of Tallahassee," said Akita Heatly, who works with the City of Tallahassee. "We couldn't ask for a better tole model and person to have this thing going on for the city of Tallahassee."
"We've seen kids grow up over the years through this camp, and they have fond memories of what it has done for them in their lives," added Sims.
The love is mutual.
"I think it's great that he does it," said Brandon Ortiz, who is an officer with the Leon County Sheriff's Office. "I think it's a great way to set an example for generations coming up to look back to where you came from and find a way to give back."
That's why he comes back every summer.
"It takes a village to raise a child, and we're just trying to play our role."
With no plans to slow down anytime soon.
"We want to make sure we leave that one positive impression in their life to reach for the stars and continue to achieve in the atmosphere of sports."
Rain, or shine. Sims' Charity Weekend continues Saturday with a track and field meet, then Saturday night, an awards banquet wraps up the weekend.