The first time I met Chris Boatwright it was evident that he was different from most young men.
The inaugural meeting between myself and the young athlete was when I was coaching football at Elkins Middle School some years ago.
Boatwright was seventh-grade player, and right from the start it was evident that he was more focused, more mature, more energetic and most of all, more hungry for success than any of his peers.
After shining on the football field for two seasons at EMS, Boatwright didn't miss a beat once he moved to the high school level. After seeing limited playing time as a freshman, he went on to being a key contributor for the Tigers the next three seasons.
In his final year at EHS in 2010, Boatwright rushed for over 1,000 yards, led the team in tackles and was named to the All-State special honorable mention team.
Elkins coach Greg Hott said no one put forth more of an effort to improve as much as Boatwright did while he was competing for the Tigers.
"He always worked 365 days a year, he never stopped," Hott said. "He always strived to be the best he could be, no matter what it was."
Boatwright was different then, and even though his playing days are behind him, he continues to raise eyebrows by doing something that others just don't do.
Most 19-year-olds either go to college or pick up a part-time job while trying to decide what their future holds. Many of them can be found at fast food restaurants or local convenience stores, trying to do as little as possible in order have an abundance of social time.
Let's face it, at 19, most young men are looking to have as much fun as they can.
That's why it may have been a surprise to many, but not his former coach, when Boatwright was recently sworn in as an Elkins city police officer.
"He's a young man, but he's way more mentally mature than any other 19-year-old," Hott said. "And he's always been like that."
As a youngster, law enforcement was something Boatwright was always drawn to, and something he always envisioned himself doing.
"I really started thinking about become a police officer when I was in pre-school," Boatwright recalled. "I really like the idea of helping people and being a role model in the community."
Before Boatwright can tackle his new job full time, he must complete 16 weeks of training at the West Virginia State Police Academy, which he will begin on Monday.
"I think my conditioning and training with football all these years will help me at the academy," he said. "I'm really excited to get started and can't wait to come back and start my new job."
Boatwright has always done the right thing while growing up in Elkins. It's a safe bet that he will continue to do that as a young man and be someone the community can count on for years to come.