More than 700 people, including County Executive Rob Astorino, District Attorney Janet DiFiore and County Board of Legislators Chairman Ken Jenkins, gathered at the Rye Town Hilton in Rye Brook Saturday night to mark the 100th anniversary of the Mount Vernon Girls and Boys Club.
Actor and humanitarian Danny Glover stepped in to present awards to many of the night's honorees when actor Denzel Washington was unable to attend. Glover said he came to Rye Brook to attend the gala, in part, because of the huge impact the Boys Club of San Francisco had on his own upbringing.
"It's remarkable the testimony made for the 100 years of the Mount Vernon Boys and Girls Club," Glover told Rye Patch. "Just the voices of those who have been the beneficiaries and the givers. Because not only does the Boys Club create beneficiaries, it creates givers too."
Some of the most famous 'beneficiaries' of the Mount Vernon club's efforts turned out in force. Many of the club's most famous alums attended the event including actor JB Smoove of the television show Curb Your Enthusiasm, NBA players Rodney McCrary, Gus Williams, Earl Tatum and Ray Williams. Former New York Giant Harry Carson, NCAA basketball champion Scooter McCray, actors Leon and Talent, and filmmakers Jerald Hoover and Shane Dean.
Mount Vernon Boys and Girls Club Board President Danny Sawh said the event raised more than $350,000 that will be used to expand the organization's programs and outreach.
Executive Director and former NBA player Lowes Moore pondered whether the group of women who started the Mount Vernon organization for deliquent boys in 1912 ever considered that it would have become such a vital and influential institution.
Glover presented the Denzel Washington Historic Leadership Award to New York State Senator Malcolm Smith of Queens, baseball Major League All-Star and sports announcer Ken Singleton, CBS meterologist Elise Finch and long-time service partner, the Kiwanis Club of Mount Vernon. Posthumous awards were accepted by the children of the late boxing promoter Butch Lewis and John Branca, former Brooklyn Dodger and Mount Vernon Commissioner of Recreation.
County Executive Rob Astorino Rob Astorino presented an official proclamation of recognition to the organization and personally congratulated the honorees.
Update, Sunday, 5:27 p.m.: On Sunday, actor and longtime supporter of the Mount Vernon Boys and Girls Club Denzel Washington sent regrets for his absence at Saturday's gala. His statement is as follows: "Denzel Washington traveled to New York with the sole and joyous purpose of hosting the 100th Anniversary Celebration. On Saturday, he was wiped out by a virus, and despite making every effort, he was not well enough to attend. He is devastated at the unfortunate timing that disappointed so many friends from Mt. Vernon and Fordham, and the near 700 donors who supported the Gala. He appreciates everyone's understanding, and thanks his show business and sports friends like Danny Glover, JB Smoove, Leon (Robinson), Gus Williams, Scooter McCray, Shane Dean and ‘Talent’ for appearing to support the Gala.”