SPRING HILL, Fla. - A blacktop basketball court is where James Poindexter loved to work with kids.
"It wasn't basketball as much as it was encouragement and his involvement," said Spring Hill Boys & Girls Club director Connie Cordell.
"He'd bring them out here and it's a hundred degrees out and the kids are sweating and they don't care, they had so much fun," she said.
Two of his four children spent the summer here. So James, who was looking for work, decided to volunteer.
"Eight, ten hours a day teaching the kids basketball and going on field trips. He was a mentor. And a good role model," said Cordell.
His enthusiasm and passion was so impressive to Cordell, she hired him on to work as a program aide.
Tuesday would have been his first day on the job. But instead, authorities in Clearwater have given up searching for him after Monday's apparent drowning.
"It feels extremely empty was always walking around with a big smile on his face and cracking jokes and high five's, all that sort of stuff,' said Cordell.
He was known around here as Coach James. And on Facebook there are messages of prayers and love, even one from a Boys & Girls Club in Ohio.
But the words of a teen are perhaps the most touching. She writes "it's only once in a lifetime you really meet an inspiring and truly amazing person. Comprehend their presence and allowance in your life."
Boys & Girls Club officials say they will wait for the right time to speak with all the kids and let they know what's happened. And they say the program James was going to help run will go on.
"We'll just remember James smile and keep going make sure they get what they need," said Cordell.
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