By Carol Vaughn — The Eastern Shore community is mourning the death of Accomack County sheriff’s deputy Corporal Charles Linwood Baines III.
Baines, 50, died Saturday at his home in Painter, according to Accomack County Sheriff Todd Wessells.
“We are heartbroken at the sudden loss of Corporal Charles Baines, who was an incredible co-worker and made many lasting contributions to the Accomack County Sheriff’s Office.
You were always met with a smile and an upbeat attitude. He will be missed and will be remembered by his hard work ethics and his dedication to the citizens of Accomack County. He was one of kind,” a post on the Accomack County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page read.
Baines, who had worked for the sheriff’s office since 2009, was assigned to the corrections division. He worked at the jail and doing crisis intervention at Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital.
Baines was a champion kickboxer who had made a comeback after suffering multiple strokes in January 2021, after testing positive for COVID-19. He was hospitalized for a week as result of the strokes.
Remarkably, Baines, a member of the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations’ Team USA, was back in competition in October 2021, competing at the WAKO World Senior Kickboxing Championship in Italy.
The competition included teams from 65 countries.
“After the (medical) clearance, I had about five weeks to get ready,” Baines said in a December 2021 interview with the Eastern Shore Post.
He had to undergo a series of medical tests to determine it was safe for him to participate. While he did not win his bout in tatami kickboxing, as he had hoped to, he had a respectable showing.
“It was really, really close,” he said, adding, “It was just great to be back in the ring.”
He was the oldest member of the team.
Baines said then he was working with a Virginia Beach trainer to prepare for upcoming events. He also worked out regularly in a gym in the basement of Historic Onancock School and at his home gym.
He gave credit to a team of supporters who helped him, including Accomack County Sheriff’s Office’s Sgt. Donnie Williams, who was a regular workout partner; sparring partner Ed Robinson; Andre Tyler, who operates the Onancock gym; and Crystal Roughton, his stretching coach, confidante, and contact person for Team Baines.
“Charles Baines’ legacy will remain etched in our minds and hearts for as long as we continue to share his ‘awesome stories’ of inspiration, motivation, and grind mixed with all that laughter,” Roughton said this week.
Craig Smith, Baines’ coach, trainer, and lifelong friend, said about his friend in a written statement, “Charles Baines was the most ‘Humble’ and ‘Kindest’ World Kickboxing Champion that I ever met. Baines and I started training together on a Virginia State Fighting Team called ‘The Playmakers’ and from that point on we stayed training together, helping each other’s talents. Every time ‘Baines’ would show up somewhere he always had a smile on his face and he would always say, ‘I am ready, brother.’ Our famous motto was, ‘Never Quit’ which he never did until the day he passed. Charles, you will never be forgotten and your Kindness and Christian Heart will live forever. See you in the ‘Kingdom of Heaven,’ my good, humble friend.”
WAKO Team USA Kickboxing and its president, Rob Zbilski, eulogized Baines in a Facebook post Sunday, saying:
“One of our WAKO USA warriors past away yesterday. Charles was a Joe Lewis Black Belt who was trained by Craig Smith and Phil Maldonado, and a bronze medalist at the 2019 WAKO World Championships in Bosnia.
“Charles was a man’s man, a quiet but hardcore dude. He was a guy that said what he was going to do, and did what he said. His motivation gave me motivation to push harder on WAKO USA. … The last thing Charles would want is pity, so let’s give him a hell ya for all his great accomplishments!”
Baines was one of four Team USA members to win a medal at the 2019 world championships.
Baines started practicing martial arts at age 3 and was named American kickboxing champion in three different weight classes, according to a June 2021 interview with the Post.
In the interview in December, Baines spoke about his awareness that young people were always watching what he did and of the need to serve as a role model, in particular to his son.
“Part of being a father is to prepare your kid for when you are not here. … I want to have him have stuff that can carry him when he gets in a crisis. … I’m going to tell him a lot of stuff, but at the end of the day, he’ll remember, when my dad was in this situation, what he did was, he got up,” Baines said then.
Baines also spoke about how the drive to succeed in kickboxing carried over into other areas of his life.
“It keeps you focused,” he said.
Baines, a man of faith, saw working hard as part of his testimony to others, especially to younger people.
“I keep pushing. I keep pushing so the kids will push. … You’ve got an audience right now who is watching you — how you act and how you react. So then, when you go talk to those kids, it’s like, ‘Okay, I hear what you say.’ Your biggest ministry is not what you say, it’s what you do,” he said in December.
Baines said people often asked him how having the strokes had changed him. His response was, “I don’t hold back. I don’t hold back, because you don’t know when your time is coming and that’s going to be it. … This is what I want and I’m going all out. … Every day, I’m going to push forward. Every day you get up, there is some type of fight … so why not get up saying, ‘Okay, I’m going to take it on.’”
A public funeral service will be held Saturday, May 28, at 3 p.m. at Annointed Word of Deliverance Ministries, 32170 Seaside Road, Keller, with Bro. Charles L. Baines IV officiating.
Interment will be held immediately following the service at New Mt. Zion Baptist Church cemetery, 17450 Coal Kiln Road, Painter.
Cooper and Humbles Funeral Co. is entrusted with the arrangements.