A Bay Ridge resident and retired boxing champion is pulling no punches in 2018, as he looks to run against Congressmember Daniel Donovan Jr. for his seat in the House of Representatives.
Boyd Melson, who currently serves as a captain in the United States Army Reserve, officially announced his bid as a Democratic candidate for office in New York’s 11th Congressional District in 2018 on Tuesday, August 15, and is promising to run on a platform dedicated to helping those who are addicted to drugs, especially in regards to the opioid epidemic that has consistently plagued Staten Island, where Melson spent a lot of time when he was younger.
“It hit home with this epidemic. Things that kill you take priority over everything. It doesn’t matter how many children you want to have or what college you want to go to. When you’re dead, you’re dead. It has nothing to do with politics. People are dying from this,” said Melson, who struggled with his own addiction to Percocet and Vicodin following two shoulder surgeries and four nose surgeries that resulted from boxing.
As a child, Melson split his time between South Brooklyn and Staten Island, as his father was stationed at Fort Hamilton Army Base in Bay Ridge. He attended West Point, and eventually began to box in the National Collegiate Boxing Association, where he racked up accolades, including becoming four-time U.S. Army champion and three-time Gold Medalist in the Armed Forces Boxing Championship. He also was an alternate for the United States Olympic Boxing Team in the 2008 Olympics, among other achievements.
Melson refers to his work in public service as a “journey” that extends back as far as his time in the Cub Scouts when he was five. While on leave during his time at West Point in 2003, Melson began to date a woman who suffered from a spinal cord injury sustained during a car accident that left her confined to a wheelchair. Melson promised her that he would do everything in his power to help her to walk.
“We’ve forgotten that our strength relies in us, not the government,” he contended. “We have the ability as everyday people to make things great. It’s how I was raised, married with the values that come with being an American.”
Later, Melson meshed public advocacy with boxing, becoming a professional boxer in 2010 with the intent of helping cure spinal cord injuries. Melson donated the purses from his professional boxing matches and worked to raise nearly $400,000 to fund research related to curing spinal cord injuries. As part of this, Melson co-founded Team Fight To Walk, a non-profit organization that looks to raise money for clinical trials related to curing spinal cord injuries.
Melson eventually retired from professional boxing, but came out of retirement in 2012 in an effort to raise awareness and money about Staten Island’s heroin epidemic, donating his winnings to BIGVISION, a nonprofit dedicated to ridding young adults of their drug addictions.
“I’m just putting my name in politics, but I’ve been serving humanity for a long time. So many people have come out to support me. If you’re a Republican or a Democrat it doesn’t matter. I have a long record of service, just not in a political position,” said Melson.