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    Nevada Guard Soldier breaks free from the grip of Chicago’s mean streets

    Nevada Guard Soldier breaks free from the grip of Chicago’s mean streets

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Ryan Getsie | Spc. Jimmy Payton with the 593rd Motor Transportation Company, Task Force South, poses...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Ryan Getsie 

    17th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs Section

    LAS VEGAS – Spc. Jimmy Payton escaped the termoil of violence and drugs found in Chicago’s gang infested Southside, and now prepares to compete as a bodybuilder at the national level while continuing to serve with the Nevada Army National Guard.

    “Chicago is a different world,” Payton said. “The city is in a bad position now with all the gang violence and drugs. A lot of people I knew there were getting shot.”

    Payton was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi. His hometown was famous for several blues musicians such as John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters. The Delta Blues Museum is located in Clarksdale along the Sunflower River.

    When he was a toddler his family relocated to Chicago, IL, where he spent most of his childhood and formative years. He escaped the mean streets of Chicago’s Southside at 25-years old and relocated to St. Louis, MI. He was a forklift trainer and operator for a short time until he finally decided to leave the Midwest altogether and landed in sunny Las Vegas in July 2017.

    Shortly after moving to the Silver State Payton raised his right hand, took the Oath of Enlistment, and strapped on his boots to serve with Nevada National Guard in April of 2018. He joined as a motor transport operator (88M) with the 593rd Motor Transport Company and has been with the unit ever since.

    “I wanted that discipline in my life,” Payton explained. “For me serving is one of the most honorable things I can do.”

    Two years later, Payton studies computer science at UNLV and works as a delivery driver for Amazon when performing his part-time duties with the Guard. Currently, he is assigned to the COVID-19 Task Force strike team to help his local community fight against the coronavirus outbreak.

    In addition to his school, work, and military responsibilities, Payton has been competing as an amateur bodybuilder for nearly six years.

    “I started bodybuilding when I was 24,” Payton said. “I lost three really close friends in Chicago. These were people I knew since kindergarten and they all died in shootings. I was under a lot of stress and I just wanted to get away.”

    Payton explained that he used bodybuilding as a way to cope with the loss of his friends, but soon found a passion for the sport.

    “It took me to a different place (mentally) where I didn’t have to worry or think about the bad things happening around me,” Payton explained. “When I go into the gym the world shuts off.”

    Bodybuilding became a part of Payton’s daily routine and when he began to see the physical transformation he turned the sport into a lifestyle. In Mar. 2016 he competed in the St. Louis Natural Bodybuilding Classic and won first in class and first overall. In March, he competed at the 2020 NPC Sampson Showdown at the College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas and took first place in the Men’s Classic Physique Awards.

    “I was so excited,” Payton said. “They gave me a huge Conan the Barbarian sword and everything (laughing). It was a big deal and winning that set the stage for me to compete the following year at the nationals.”

    When it comes to hard work, whether military, civilian, or bodybuilding, Payton outlines the mindset it takes to win.

    “Set the goal, do the work, and achieve the goal,” Payton explained. “Nothing beats hard work. I’m not giving you 80 or 90 percent; I’m giving you 100 percent of everything I’ve got, every time.”

    Aside from competing at the national bodybuilding level, Payton has military goals and wants to achieve the rank of first sergeant someday. He hopes to not only inspire young men and women through fitness, but also inspire a generation of Soldiers willing to put in the work it takes to succeed while serving in the Guard.



    Date Taken: 01.29.2021
    Date Posted: 02.01.2021 13:21
    Story ID: 387979
    Location: LAS VEGAS, NV, US 

    Web Views: 441
    Downloads: 1