In 2005, Henk de Vries made a donation for the renovation of his friend Yodtong Senanan’s kickboxing camp. But it would end up making a much bigger impact.
Back in the day, Henk de Vries, founder of The Bulldog, was manager and promotor of kickboxing pros and events with De Vries Promotions. For the pros under his wing, including Dutch, European and World Champions, he arranged matches against pros from Thailand.
That’s how he met Yodtong Senanan, the founder and manager of the Sidyodtong kickboxing camp in Thailand. Master Yodtong wanted to help out homeless and unemployed boys and men in the region by accommodating them in his camp, where they could sleep, work out and box.
In 2005, Henk was visiting Thailand to help out after the devastating tsunami when his old kickboxing friend reached out to him, asking for help. He quickly made his way to the kickboxing camp. Upon arrival it became clear just how dire the situation was.
The camp was in desperate need of repair and the living conditions were terrible. The shower for example consisted of nothing more than a double sink, a hose and a bucket. Ceilings were on the verge of collapsing and the gym equipment was practically falling apart.
Seeing how bad the situation was, Henk didn’t waste any time and he donated 15 thousand euros towards the renovation of the facilities, which began immediately.
When the renovations were completed, Henk went back to meet up with Master Yodtong. He was happy to see how much had been done with his donation.
The buildings were all cleaned, repaired and given a fresh coat of paint. Ceilings no longer leaked and the lights were working as they should, thanks to properly installed electricity. The common living area was outfitted with chairs and tables made of solid wood and in the sleeping quarters they had bunk beds, new mattresses and blankets. They had installed multiple showers and toilets, plus new training equipment had been purchased.
But that was not all, as Henk found out over a cup of tea after the tour. Master Yodtong told him that he had used a small amount of the donated money to buy lottery tickets, which ended up winning him the jackpot of 300 thousand dollars!
He used this money to help the people in his community, which eventually led to his appointment as minister of sports for the region. In the end, thousands of people were helped by Master Yodtong, all thanks to Henk’s first donation.
Master Yodtong sadly passed away, but his kickboxing camp still exists and he will always be remembered by Henk as a wonderful person and friend.