On Wednesday, January 29th, Boxing Out Negativity lost one of its core members to Chicago’s violence.
Devell Lavarrio Hill was already a mentee of coach Derek Brown when he first entered our gym in summer 2019. His warm smile and selfless spirit quickly ingratiated him with our team. He was touched by the love that he was getting from his teammates, not even recognizing that it was his warmth that was feeding that atmosphere. He was a natural mentor, once diverting from other plans to run three miles with one of our younger participants who was struggling with motivation – “come on man, you got this! Just jog this block then we’ll walk the next one! Keep going! You got this!”
Devell was still coping with the loss of his brother to gun violence two years ago when he first entered our doors. After a difficult several months, in the last few weeks of his life he had inspired us all with his renewed sobriety, focus, and dedication. He had started a new job at Harold’s Chicken in Hyde Park, where he was thriving and taking extra shifts. He had started to attend early morning workouts (5:30am on some days!), and attend our boxing practices in the afternoons. He had started to work toward a healthier diet so as to not disrespect his body. On the day that he was murdered, he had worked out early that morning, spent most of the day taking an assessment to begin an electrician’s training program, and we believe that he was on his way to our practice when he was gunned down.
More than anything, Devell was driven by wanting to be there for his family – especially his 4-year-old son and a 3-year-old niece who was left without her father. But he had a deep compassion for all children, including his younger cousins. In recent Facebook posts he talked about wanting to cover his son’s college expenses and, if he would ever be fortunate enough to have a daughter, “g-d willing I’ma get U a pony.” He spoke of wanting to open a skating rink or bowling alley on the West side so that youth would have safe outlets for recreation.
Devell was one of the warmest, most selfless individuals we have met, and he quickly become one of the most focused and inspiring. We find no peace in his passing, but have deep gratitude in having witnessed him in a state of contentment and positivity in his last several weeks of life.
His family will be struggling to pay for his services. Those looking to donate can do so as follows:
- Make contributions directly to the House of Branch Funeral Home at 3125 W. Roosevelt Rd., Chicago, for Devell Hill);
- Send a check made out to Boxing Out Negativity with “Devell Hill Memorial Fund” on the “notes” line (Boxing Out Negativity c/o BBF Family Services, 1512 S. Pulaski Rd., Chicago, IL 60623)
- Contribute via PayPal indicating “Devell Hill Memorial Fund” in the “Notes” – https://www.paypal.com/paypalme2/D7p
In gratitude for keeping Devell and his loved ones in your thoughts during this difficult time.