Derek Walls is Making His Mark in the Community
Derek Walls is a making the most out of his hobbies and passions. While he is no stranger to dedication and service for his community, he has found new ways to give back through his entrepreneurship and philanthropy. Derek currently resides in Brevard County, Florida, and he takes pride in owning the nine-year-old paintball and extreme sports park, Brevard Extreme Sports. Here, active youth take part in other sports, including skateboarding and BMX bike racing.
Derek Walls firmly believes in living his life to the fullest. When he opened his park, he envisioned it becoming the next phase of his life—a way in which he could give back to the youth and his community. Through sports like paintball, he observes players learning skills he once had to learn, like teamwork and critical thinking in the field. He also believes those who participate in BMX and skateboarding learn to challenge themselves. Not only do these hobbies require extreme patience and long practice hours, but the tricks only award success to the bravest and most physically disciplined athletes.
Derek’s Other Hobbies
Restores Military Vehicles—While Derek Walls primarily gives back to others through his extreme sports park, he wants the public to know that the military remains a meaningful part of his life and ideology. He currently enjoys restoring old military vehicles, and his collection currently includes two Kaiser Deuce and a Half from 1963 and 1968. He firmly believes his love of building was passed down to him by his grandfather, and he has displayed his Deuce’sin the traveling Vietnam Wall display of Melbourne, Florida. While others can enjoy his collection, he gets to visit with Vietnam veterans from Brevard County.
Enjoys Reading History—Just because Derek Walls enjoys the active lifestyle doesn’t mean he can’t appreciate the subtle sophistication in literature. In his free time he thoroughly enjoys reading about American history, especially if it involves the Civil War era. For him, the Civil War represents the heroes who fought to make our country great. While he draws inspiration from these past events, he also delves into science fiction novels. He currently favors the author Clive Cussler, and he has eight books on his list of “must-reads” at the present time.
Enjoys Traveling and Adventure—Derek enjoys having a fairly mobile lifestyle and he occasionally likes to take his Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle out for day trips around Florida. During these outings he typically visits places on the adventurous side, especially theme parks with roller coasters. For him, it’s never too late to act young again and enjoy yourself—true age is only a reflection of how old you feel.
Tries New Food and Cultures—Always up for new experiences, Derek tries to eat exotic cuisine any chance he gets. From Thai to Indian food, taking in other cultures helps him keep an open mind about the world.
Derek Walls Enjoys Philanthropy
Although he finds joy in his new life as a business owner, Derek would not feel completely satisfied without his charity work in the community. Giving back in this way is fulfilling for him, and he currently serves as the Director of Operations for the Florida Volunteer Search and Rescue (SAR) Corps. He started this group for Adults & youth in 1997 after serving with the national Search and Rescue Response Force—an organization in which he helped to find missing persons and ultimately restore hope in the minds of their worried families. SAR Corps is a project he has nurtured and grown through the years—a legacy that he hopes will live on after him.
Apart from helping various local churches and food drives, SAR Corps trains adults & children in in search and rescue activities. , and Derek takes the opportunity to mentor and instill the value of community service in the young participants. In an effort to continue the Toys for Tots service he was involved in from 1994-1998, he requires the SAR Corps cadets to volunteer in the annual drive. It is worth noting that he served as the Toys for Tots drive coordinator from 1998-2011.
For those unfamiliar with Toys for Tots, it is an annual drive designed to help underprivileged kids and teens experience the joys of gift-giving at Christmas. Many of the items needy kids request are those that the average person takes for granted—toothbrushes, coats, shoes, etc. Volunteers can serve in multiple ways, but they usually help by gathering requested gifts and wrapping them for safe travel and delivery. Most of the children who receive these gifts range from ages 1-16, but some variation exists between local branches of the organization. Every year between October and November, Toys for Tots is at its busiest raising items and delivering them to those in need.
Toys for Tots was founded in 1947 by a Marine and his wife in Los Angeles, California, and in 1948 it was adopted by the Marine Corps as a way to give back during the holidays. Derek feels an added connection with this organization because of his Marine ties, and it became extra special when he was able to get his SAR students involved. He believes that younger people helping those who are similar in age may add more perspective to what they are doing; thus, they may question their own lives and feel more grateful for what they have.
For Derek Walls, running SAR Corps is just another way for him to leave a legacy of charity and giving—especially to the youth who he hopes will become outstanding adult members of their communities one day. Finding satisfaction in the aftermath of military service, he has successfully passed through a drastic life transition. He believes that many people struggle with this sort of change, having identified themselves with one particular calling or vocation. By making peace with the end of his military service he has been able to take a new role in life and spread a sense of hope and knowledge to others. Derek Walls found a way to pass down his life lessons to the youth in his community. Regardless of what the future has in store for him, this is a service he hopes to continue for years to come.
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