Pat Gallagher/The Valdosta daily Times Boys and Girls society of Valdosta chairman Andy blacksmith speaks during the Boys and also Girls club of Valdosta 65th Anniversary benefit Reunion in ~ Quail Branch Lodge Monday evening.

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Pat Gallagher/The Valdosta daily Times local service director for the Boys and also Girls club Ronnie Jenkins, left, gift David Waller, Sr. The silver- Medallion because that 35 years of company to the club throughout the Boys and Girls club of Valdosta 65th Anniversary benefit Reunion at Quail Branch Lodge Monday evening.

VALDOSTA — The Boys and Girls society of Valdosta hosted a special event Monday, marking 65 year of legends and also memories.Former coaches, players, students, and also mentors gathered in ~ the Quail Branch Lodge inLake Park for a trip down memory lane. Proceeds native the reunion and benefit fund-raiser will aid the Boys and Girls club to continue offering programs the serve much more than 4,000 area youth annually, stated Executive director Robert Soper.Soper said the main purpose of the event was to “get together and have a good time,” but likewise to pay tribute come alumni, “the roadway pavers who gained the Boys and Girls Club where it is now.” The yearly awards ceremony came before the key event. Compensation recipients were:l Youth of the Year— Ashley Emanuell woman of the Year — Susan Steell male of the Year — L. Andrew SmithService to Youth Awardsl Andy Smith— 10 yearl man A. Lastinger — 15 yearl David Waller Jr. — 15 yearl Mike Godwin — 5 yearl David Waller Sr. — 35 year.David Waller Sr. Was likewise awarded the Boys and Girls club of America silver- Medallion, the very first time that award has actually been gift in the Valdosta Club’s 65 year history, Soper said.A perpetual on slide presentation extending the 1940’s with the 1990’s ran throughout the two-hour event, when members reminisced around the club"s long and eventful history. Ronnie Jenkins, regional Service Director for the Boys and Girls Clubs the America said, “The generational heritage of the Valdosta society is phenomenal and also something friend won’t find anywhere else.” Jenkins pointed out that the Valdosta club has developed fourleaders in the national Boys and also Girls Clubs of America organization, more than any kind of other club.Original documents from the starting of the Valdosta club were on display along with various memorabilia. A paragraph from the 1944document recording a meeting in room 202 of the Daniel Ashley Hotel for the objective of adopting a constitution states, “Any human being of goodmoral personality in sympathy v the work of the club, whose name shall be authorized by the executive, management Committee and also who shall i ordered it $1.00 or more shall come to be a member the the organization for one year dating fromthe time of payment that the subscription.”Joe Harrison, child of Frankie Harrison, the very first boy to go into the Valdosta Club and also the 1948 national Boys and Girls Club boy of theYear, was there. One old newspaper snipping on display showed Frankie shaking hands v President take care of S. Truman as part of the honor ofbeing chosen national Boy that the Year. Joe said the Valdosta society was a surrogate father to his father. Frankie thrived up there is no a father, Joesaid, and the result was the he raised 3 sons, 2 daughters and embraced three other children due to the fact that he felt very strongly the no son shouldever have actually to grow up without a father. Prentice Taylor, chairman of the Club’s source DevelopmentCommittee, stated that numerous of those that attended the Valdosta club as youngsters are now adults who sponsor, volunteer and also otherwise support the club to for sure its continued growth and prosperity. Taylor said he really hopes the event can come to be an annual fundraiser to assist fund operating expenses for the brand-new facility. Donnie Thomas, who has coached in ~ the Valdosta Boys and Girls society for the last 25 years, beginning with his own kids, stated his family’s involvement was a an excellent way come spend high quality time together while his children were growing up. Together with Danny Redshaw, Thomas said he helped coach the very first Boys and Girls society baseball team to win a state championship in the 13 -14 year old division.President Andy smith thanked the Valdosta City Council and also Lowndes County plank of Commissioners for all their assist and assistance of theValdosta Boys and also Girls Club. Rusty Griffin, co-chair that the capital Campaign, in addition to Mike Godwin, updated the group on the progression ofthe funding campaign, then presented Valious Smith, winner the the 2008 Youth of the Year Award. Blacksmith told exactly how her involvement through theClub assisted shape and also guide her life in a optimistic direction. Griffin quote statistics demonstrating why Valdosta’s Boys and also Girls club isneeded an ext than ever. One of those statistics is the 60 percent high college dropout rate amongst at-risk children in the Valdosta community.Soper claimed he attributes the success that the Valdosta Boys and also Girls society to the comprehensive time, treasure, and also talent donated through its membersand alumni. Soper estimates the club has served end 120,000 children over the years.

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Several of the club’s alumni have coached or volunteered forbetween 25 and also 40 years, the said. In addition to the two infrastructure in Lowndes County, the society operates three infrastructure in Brooks County,Soper said.