Big 50: Boys & Girls Club celebrates anniversary

HARLINGEN — When Gerald Gathright began working for the Boys & Girls Club of Harlingen, the lone building on site was just a shell, with nothing inside.

That was 39 years ago.

The organization had only one basketball team. It now has 201, plus numerous other activities to support local youth.

Last night, local dignitaries converged on the Club at 1209 W. Washington Ave. to celebrate its 50th anniversary. They seemed to come from all directions: School Superintendent Art Cavazos, Mayor Chris Boswell, Kathy Preddy from the United Way, and Harlingen school board member George McShan, just to name a few.

Gathright, the director, was touched by the turnout and by the support from the city over the years.

“I think it’s a testament to the generosity of our community,” said Gathright.

He’s pointed out many times the club’s importance to local children. For many, it’s a home away from home.

“It keeps them safe from the dangers of being out in the street,” Gathright said.

Five satellite units serve different parts of the city between the main facility on Washington Ave. One of them is the LeMoyne Gardens Unit.

Zena Nazar, 13, is a resident of the Le Moyne Gardens residential area. She planned to read a speech about the role the Boys & Girls Club has played in her life.

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