Pete Church - Weightlifter

MIKE CAMUNAS, Times Correspondent
Published September 25, 2007

Pete Church found his glory days in his garage.

With a lifting platform, a $1,000 weight set and the loss of 15 pounds, Church - with his 13-year-old son by his side - is ready for his comeback.

"Once in a while, my body reminds me that I'm not getting any younger," the 52-year-old retired Army Chaplain (Major) said. "It's something to regrasp your past - your life - and it's good to do it while you still have vitality."

Church was a three-time state champion weight lifter while a 148-pound student at St. Petersburg High in the early '70s. Then, as he puts it, life happened: college, marriage, kids, the military.

Pete Church claims an old photo of his former self - recently shown to him by an old high school teammate, sparked the weightlifting drive.

"I had never seen the photo," Pete Church said. "But once I saw it, it just came back, and that's when I knew I wanted to do it again."

Pete and his son, Patrick, have been lifting in the garage of their Holiday home for about four months now, and Pete couldn't be happier to have Patrick by his side. The Churches adopted Patrick when he was 7 in 2001, after his mother, a cousin , died in a car accident.

Pete enjoys the father-son connection with Patrick that he missed since the death of his youngest son, Spencer. Spencer, who would be 28 today, was hit by a car while riding his bike at age 4. He died four years later from his injuries.

"It was a profound loss," Pete said. "I'm glad to get back to weightlifting - especially with Patrick. The father-son connection has been great."

Patrick, a second-class Boy Scout and seventh-grader, also took to weightlifting when his dad started his comeback.

"I really got into it," Patrick said. "I wanted to get stronger. But, yeah, I wanted to be supportive of him, so we started doing it together in the afternoon."

Check out Pete's most recent music at BROADJAM


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