At 79, 'Hollywood' just keeps going

Al “Hollywood” Meggett (right) is all smiles as he receives congratulations from his son, Al Meggett, after being named a national finalist for the Energizer Keep Going Hall of Fame.

Al "Hollywood" Meggett was practically speechless.

"This is beautiful," was all the 79-year-old Charleston boxing guru could say Wednesday when told he was one of 10 national finalists for the Energizer Keep Going Hall of Fame.

A crowd that included family, friends and the pink Energizer Bunny was on hand to honor the man that started the Charleston Police Boxing Club 27 years ago.

"Meggett is a very direct, loving and caring person who likes to get his point across," said Darren Whitaker, one of the gym's trainers who has known Meggett since 1983. "He's been like a mentor and a father to me."

Meggett began his career of training boxers at the young age of 23 in Harlem, and then later established a gym at the old fire station located on the corner of Simmons and King street in Charleston. At this gym, Meggett continues to train the youth to this day.

"Boxing gives children a good edge and self-esteem," said Meggett. "It inspires them to do good things."

Meggett's guidance has touched his own children as well.

"I'm very proud and elated because he does so much for the children and the community," said Tanya Butler, one of Meggett's daughters.

Butler is the person who nominated Meggett for the Energizer Keep Going Hall of Fame.

"He loves working with people, especially children," she said. "He's done it all his life."

Meggett's altruistic work is now paying off, because out of 1,200 nominations he is now one of 10 finalists from across the country.

"His story has really stood out, so all of Charleston needs to support him," said Sara Miller, a spokesperson from Energizer.

The Energizer Keep Going Hall of Fame was established in 2006 to recognize everyday people doing extraordinary things.

The finalist with the most votes will be the 2010 inductee and receive a cash prize of $10,000 and a $5,000 donation that will go towards his favorite charity.

The inductee will also travel to St. Louis, Mo., and meet baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr.

"Will I continue to train? Of course," said Meggett. He said that he will retire eventually. "After these young ones learn the business entirely, that will be my ticket out." After training numerous fighters for 55 years, Meggett said that he is excited to be one of Energizer's finalists.

"This is what happens when you do the right thing," he said.

Reach Derek Legette at dlegette@postandcourier.com or 843-937-5716