To the casual observer, it would seem Mike Leverett Sr.'s dream job is over. In the 1980s, the Harlem graduate was a professional baseball player in the Atlanta Braves organization, seeing time at third base, then switching to first base.
"Hank Aaron told me he thought I had a better chance of making it at first base," Leverett said. "It was a short stay, but I learned a lot."
His baseball career picked up as a member of the 1981 Harlem State Championship team. He went on to play at Middle Georgia College, then was drafted by the Atlanta Braves. After a career in the Braves' Minor League organization, the power hitter returned to Harlem.
That's when his dream job started.
Leverett worked at the sheriff's department for five years. For the last three years, he's served as the school safety officer for Harlem's elementary, middle and high schools.
"In the schools there's a whole lot of drama. I try to cut it out before it starts," he said. "To me, it's a dream job come true."
Leverett put his words into action this past weekend at Harlem. His daughter, Brittney Leverett, is a senior on the Greenbrier girl's basketball team. The Lady Wolfpack were playing for a region championship Saturday.
Leverett had planned to make the trip to Gray, Ga., to see his daughter play.
As he was preparing to leave, he found out the Miss Harlem Pageant, to be held at the high school Saturday, was in need of a security officer.
"If I didn't do it, I knew they'd have to cancel," Leverett said.
That was it. Leverett missed his daughter's game to oversee security at the pageant.
"He's a real community-minded individual," Harlem Principal Alan Griffin said. "He'll do anything in the world that I ask him to do."
Leverett also serves the Harlem athletic program by securing the school's basketball games. For three years he's kept the peace, despite the occasional teenager fight and unruly fan.
"We could not replace all the things he does behind the scenes," basketball coach Kim Chambers said. "He's just a great person altogether."
Leverett not only protects the Harlem students, he also coaches some of them.
For the past 19 years he's served as a volunteer coach for a fast-pitch softball travel team at Patriots Park.
In July, Leverett's Georgia Dixie Debs won the Dixie Softball World Series Championship.
Leverett said the title, along with almost 20 years of serving the community both on and off the diamond, created a better feeling than anything a professional baseball career might have.
"When you look at the big picture there's a lot of guys that played with me who aren't doing as good as I am now," he said. "I love this job and this area."
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