A Diamond Affair raises thousands for JRBGC

Nov. 8—Thursday evening the Jackie Robinson Boys and Girls Club of Cairo-Grady County held their tenth annual JRBGC Diamond Affair fundraiser event at the Grady Cultural Center.

Amy Hagan, the JRBGC board chair, welcomed the attendees to the cultural center, before Charles Renaud, JRBGC board member, spoke about the vision and mission of the Boys and Girls Club.

"We can all come together and support kids and we do it every year so we can all come together, and what we start here we can let that spread, and let that spread through our county, through our state, through our nation," Renaud said.

Stephen Francis, the JRBGC Director, said that the last year had been a blessing for the children involved in the program, and the opportunities that had been afforded to them were all because of the efforts of those attending the fundraiser.

"Some of these kids, ya'll realize, this is something they will remember for the rest of their life, and it's because of people like you that have come together to make these things happen, so give yourselves one more big round of applause," Francis said.

Also in attendance, was Charlie Ward, Jr., a Heisman Trophy winning athlete that played for the Florida State Seminoles in college before opting to play in the National Basketball Association upon graduating, playing nine years for the New York Knicks.

Introducing himself, Ward thanked his family for being in attendance, saying that the support a family gives one another is important, with every child needing a village to help raise them right.

"I appreciate them being here," he said. "Family is important, as we all know. We support one another in the things we have going on."

Ward said support came from those who embraced the importance of good education, the right attitude, and servant leaders who listened to those they sought to help and give them the chance the next generation needed to make a difference.

"When we talk about leadership, servant leaders are ones that people really want to be by, so I would encourage you all to continue to be servant leaders," Ward said. "Sometimes, we talk about making a difference, the Boys and Girls Club do a great job, making sure the kids have their chance, everything that they need to make it happen."

During the event, an auction for three footballs signed by Ward was held. Hagan said that the three footballs raised approximately $2000 and overall, the event raised nearly $30,000.

"I don't have final totals, but we should clear over $25,000," Hagan said. "Maybe closer to $30,000 with raffles, auctions and extra donations last night."

Sponsors of the event included JTEKT, which acted as the presenting sponsor, the United National Bank, MTF, CNSNext, Archbold, Graco Fertilizer Company, First National Bank, Cairo Physical Therapy, Capital City Bank, Washington Middle School, and many other businesses and individuals from the community.