By Sarrah Peters, News Editor
On Monday, July 24, the Boys and Girls Club of Gadsden/Etowah County hosted the 2017 Hall of Fame Dinner to honor four local supporters of the club.
Boys and Girls Club members participated in the program, welcoming everyone to the program and giving the invocation. A group of young girls sang a rendition of “How Far I’ll Go” from the Moana movie soundtrack. Member Aniya Scott sang “Count On Me” by Bruno Mars. The club members at the event recited the Boys and Girls Club code: “I believe in God and the right to worship according to my own faith and religion. I believe in America and the American way of life, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I believe in fair play, honesty and sportsmanship. I believe in my Boys & Girls Club, which stands for these things.”
During the event, a silent auction was held to help raise money for the Boys and Girls Club. The auction featured sports memorabilia like autographed pictures, footballs, jerseys and helmets from the University of Alabama, Auburn University, the University of Tennessee, the University of Georgia, Louisiana State University, Mississippi State University and more.
The criteria for being inducted into the Hall of Fame was being a former member, employee or board member.
The first inductee was former member and local athlete Dre Kirkpatrick, who played for the University of Alabama and went on to play in the NFL for the Cincinnati Bengals. His father Rev. Charles Kirkpatrick accepted the award on his behalf.
Second inductee was former Boys and Girls Club Director Al Oyler. Oyler, who became a member of the club himself in 1954, expressed how much he missed the club and his kids.
The third inductee was longtime board member of the Boys and Girls Club Ricky Ray. In addition to serving on the board, Ray is CEO of Exchange Bank, which regularly contributes to the club.
The last inductee was John Reed, who coached many sports.
“I do not think that we could have asked for a finer class for our first Hall of Fame class,” said Boys and Girls Club Director Quez Williams.
After the inductees were honored, the event’s keynote speaker, Sherman Williams addressed the crowd. Williams is from Blount County and went on to play football for the University of Alabama and NFL team the Dallas Cowboys. While with the Cowboys, the team won the Super Bowl. Williams said that it takes hard work to reach the top tier in his profession.
“I also served jail time,” said Williams. “Things weren’t always so bright.”
Williams said that while he made good choices that led him to success in his football career, his bad choices led to jail time.
“On an individual basis, each person has an indivividual choice,” said Williams.
Williams encouraged attendees to make goals and good choices.
Sponsors for the Hall of Fame dinner included Exchange Bank, Gadsden City Councilman Deverick Williams, Gadsden Mayor Sherman Guyton, Gadsden City Councilwoman Cynthia Toles, Enrestoration Inc., Regions Bank, Gadsden Regional Medical Center and the law office of Morgan Cunningham & Jay Hedgepeth.