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Nathaniel Williams: 30 years refereeing youth sports

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Nathaniel Williams (courtesy of Ola Clark)

Nathaniel Williams is known for volunteering at many organizations around Vicksburg, but the project closest to his heart is serving as a referee at the Vicksburg YMCA.  For 30 years, Williams has enjoyed helping kids and watching them learn and grow.

The youth have always held a special place in Williams’ heart and he first started out as a volunteer coach for his son’s youth team. The rest, as they say, is history and three decades later, Williams is still volunteering his time to the young athletes at the YMCA.

“I like working with the kids and helping them learn the fundamentals of the game, especially when it comes to basketball and football,” Williams said.

In the games that Williams referees there is always competition going on, but Williams doesn’t hesitate to pause the match to show a kid the proper way to hold a football or shoot a basketball. Williams also heavily stresses the importance of safety in the games.

“I’m very passionate about keeping the game fair and helping them learn in a good way that will help them in the sport in the future, while making sure no one gets hurt,” Williams said.

Williams’ genuine love for sports and his patient guidance of the kids has made him everyone’s favorite referee, with many young athletes running to give him a high-five before the match.

“No matter what kind of house I live in, the kind of car I drive, or how much money I have, I’m trying to be the best volunteer so I can impact God’s creation in a positive way,” Williams said.

When Williams is not refereeing youth sports, he’s volunteering at other organizations like Vicksburg Family Development, Red Cross, and the RiverFest where his presence always brightens up someone’s day. He is also a choir director at several local churches and attends Ebenezer Baptist Church.

To add to his impressive resume, Williams is also a Army veteran who was born and raised in Vicksburg and is a proud graduate of Jackson State University. He has been working as a Tax Field Representative/Auditor at the Mississippi Department of Employment for the last 38 years.

Catch Mr. Williams live and in action at the YMCA youth football games this fall that are held at Sports Force Park where he will refereeing and mentoring kids on the aspects of the game for their future.

“Remember that all those sports are great but be sure to get a good education,” Williams said in advice to young athletes.

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