By Tamas Mondovics

Thanks to his athletic skills and talent, former Durant High School graduate and track champion, Haftom Fliegelman, 18, of Valrico, has but one dream he hopes one day soon will become a reality; to be the best long distance runner and run in the Olympics.

Assisted by close caring friends, Haftom is working on raising money and seeking the support of his community to help him with the cost of purchasing a plane ticket and to cover some of his travel expenses back to Ethiopia where a college scholarship awaits him.

Born in Mekele, capital of Tigray province in Ethopia and, following the passing of both his parents, Haftom became an orphan until he and his siblings were adopted.

Sharing his goals and dreams from the heart while struggling with the English language, the young runner expressed himself passionately on his ‘Go Fund Me’ page, explaining that while overcoming language barriers and challenges from his adoptive family, he continued to pursue and persevere to attain his dreams of running, breaking numerous high school records.

Haftom’s athletic success includes his 2015 fourth place finish (at age 16) during the state championship after beating 2,139 runners.

“For me, it all goes back to my biological parents passing so early in my life,” he said. “They never witnessed my talents, so with that, all I want is to do nothing more than to make them proud, each day I use my running abilities to do that, I wanted to make my mother a legend.”

Giving testimony to the community and to the human spirit Haftom had not only reached but exceeded his original goal of $1,800, and raising nearly $3,000 (at time of writing this article).

While his travel costs are now covered, it is safe to say that continued support for some additional school and living expenses are much appreciated.

Giving credit to close caring friends, Haftom said, “My life is a true testament to what you can do with a little bit of faith, and… move the mountains that life presents.”

To visit Haftom’s Go Fund Me Page and to donate please visit,

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