One of the Brazos Valley's most well known celebrities was on hand Monday night for the annual Bryan/College Station Chamber of Commerce Banquet.
Actor and martial arts legend Chuck Norris addressed a sold-out crowd at the Hilton Hotel and talked about his martial arts program, Kickstart Kids.
In addition to Norris' speech, the Chamber's 2010 Citizen of the Year award went to the founder of Save Our Streets Ministries, J.J. Ramirez.
The Volunteer of the Year award was presented to Mike Connor, who works for BTU. Ambassador of the Year honors went to Glenda Hoon of Sideshow Creative.
During his speech, Norris talked about growing up in poverty in Oklahoma with his mom, and how he was so shy that he didn't participate in sports growing up and lacked confidence.
When he joined the military at the age of 18, he was stationed in Korea and was introduced to martial arts there.
His Kickstart Kids program started in 1992 in Houston and now reaches more than 6,500 middle schoolers statewide, teaching martial arts as well as character and leadership skills.
"And that's why we're doing the same thing here in Navasota, in Bryan, College Station, Navasota, Anderson, Iola and so forth like that, and trying to get the community such as yourself to help us make this program the program it should be in this area," Norris said.
"We need help," said Derrick Stinson, a Kickstart Kids instructor from Houston and a former participant in the KSK. "This program has changed my family starting with me, because out of six siblings, I'm the only one that has never seen the inside of a prison cell, never been in jail, have no criminal record, and it's all because of Kickstart, because I guarantee you that if it wasn't for the Kickstart Kids program, I don't know where I would be."
Since Kickstart Kids began, more than 60,000 students have graduated from the program.
Norris and his wife, Gena, live on their ranch in Grimes County.