story and photos by Jeremy Donnell
Four members were inducted into the Fort Smith Boys and Girls Club (FSBGC) Hall of Fame with a surprise fifth inductee.
Jerry Glidewell, executive director of the FSBGC, had no prior knowledge he was being inducted into the Hall of Fame until the moment they started reading his biography. While very humble he wanted the focus to be on the other four members, but he was extremely surprised.
Glidewell has been involved with the Boys and Girls Clubs for the past 40 years. Along with his leadership, Glidewell was recognized for the strength, innovation and dedication he bringsto all aspects of the job.
Tim Higgins, unit director of the Evans division, said, “after the tornado hit Stephens, Jerry was invaluable in rebuilding and opening up the other divisions.”
“Everyone in this room knows Jerry and admires him,” Higgins continued.
The FSBGC Hall of Fame was established in 1991 and has 46 members inducted.
The FSBGC was established in 1928 and now serves 3,500 registered boys and girls from four locations. The club’s mission is to help youth of all backgrounds develop qualities needed to become responsible Citizens and leaders. The club has four reasons why they consider themselves special; they are open daily, have a dedicated youth facility, a professional staff, and they are available/affordable to all youth.
Membership is open to anyone between the ages of six and eighteen with a small yearly fee of $10. The FSBGC claims though that they will not allow costs to prevent anyone from participating. They are a safe place to learn and grow all while having fun. The FSBGC truly is the positive place for kids.
An estimated 240 people attended the event, including directors of Central Texas, Phillips county, and Fort Smith United Way.
Okla Bennett Smith was the first member to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Smith has been a member of FSBGC board of directors for the past 38 years. Serving as board president from 1978-1979, Smith has been a strong advocate of their endowment fund and many other fundraising activities.
Curtis Goldtrap Jr., has been a board member for 33 years. Goldtrap served as president of the board from 1998-1999. With the help of his father, A.C. Goldtrap Sr., Curtis helped create the Goldtrap-Gardner Boys and Girls Club on South Dallas in Fort Smith.
Don and Marilyn Foster stepped up next with different but rewarding contributions. Don has served on the board of directors from 1988-2006 and was co-chair of the $1.1 million campaign to build the Goldtrap-Gardner unit in 1993. Marilyn established the poetry, essay and photography contests at the club in 1994. Each year she makes a special presentation to the winners as well as a cash prize. Marilyn shared some inspirational works and memories with the crowd from the over two thousand members that have entered her contests.
Joe Mundy has been a volunteer at the FSBGC for 42 years. Mundy has coached and officiated baseball, football and basketball over the past five decades as well as being a mentor to hundreds of players, coaches, and officials.
Glidewell, while walking around to make sure he talked to every table, running the projector of the presentations he created, and trying to grab a bite to eat had to put everything down as he realized he was the fifth inductee. The FSBGC even went to the trouble of creating a different version of the inductee biography handouts that excluded Glidewell’s name. After the secret was out a new version of the handouts were passed around to each person.
The FSBGC is located in four locations; Evans on 6015 Boys Club Lane, Goldtrap-Gardner on 8800 Dallas St., Jeffrey on 4905 N. O St., and Stephens on 3101 N. Sixth St.. Link to their website for more information about the organization.