HONORING THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF CLUB ALUMNI

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City’s Hall of Fame program serves as a means of recognizing, preserving, and honoring the legacy of the Clubs and the distinguished alumni, volunteers, and supporters, whose personal and professional achievements are the best evidence of the Clubs’ tagline – Great Futures Start HERE.

We are proud to announce the following inductees into the 2020 Alumni Hall of Fame class:

George Forte, 2020 Alumni Hall of Famer

Mr. George Forte, Sr. (posthumously)

Alumni of the Year

George B. Forte, Sr. was born on September 12, 1932, in Clarksville, Texas. He was the youngest of eight children. Mr. Forte was married to Doris Faye Forte for 55 years and had six amazing children. For more than 50 years Mr. Forte served his community including Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City. He was very active in starting and coaching many sports teams at the Clubs. He took that time to instill morals and integrity into the youth he served. In his free time, he volunteered as a referee and a Boys Scout Troup Leader. He was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., a member of the Pride of the West Masonic Lodge – Prince Hall Mason of KC, an avid golfer, a lover of jazz, and a proud season ticket holder of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Following his retirement after many years of working for Sears and the Kansas Gas Service Company, Mr. Forte began a second career at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City in the roles of Director of Operations and Sr. Unit Director of the Thornberry Unit. Mr. Forte believed the Boys & Girls Clubs was a safe place to go with caring adults ready to empower youth to maximize their potential. He entrusted Club staff to look after his own children believing it helped to mold each one of them. Mr. Forte only had one thing in mind when he got involved with the Boys & Girls Clubs – Making a Positive Difference in young people’s lives. And he did just that – athletes, accomplished business leaders, and local civic leaders alike have all been quoted saying…” Mr. Forte saved my life”.

Three of Mr. Forte’s six children followed in his footsteps by also working for Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City. Mr. Forte’s family believes he would have been extremely honored and humbled to be selected into the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City Alumni Hall of Fame.

Darron Story, 2020 Alumni Hall of Famer

Mr. Darron Story

Service Alumni of the Year

Pursuing excellence and innovation in the entertainment, non-profit and business sectors, Darron Story embodies all these qualities. He is a professional recording artist, performing with numerous groups including A&M Record’s Lo-Key?. Story’s credits include a number one hit on the Billboard music charts, a platinum sales award for his work on the motion picture soundtrack Mo’Money, and appearances on MTV, Soul Train, NBC’s Friday Night Videos, BET, the Oprah Winfrey Show, and The Arsenio Hall Show. Locally, Story is the creator and host of two web and TV series, Kansas City After Hours and Straight Out of KC. Currently, he hosts Story Behind The Music, a podcast where Story interviews some of the great artists in R&B and Soul Music. In addition, Story hosts 3 radio shows on 107-3 KC’s R&B and Hip Hop including Caring for KC that airs on 7 local stations in Kansas City.

Since 1995, Story has worked and volunteered in the non-profit sector for community-building organizations such as St. Stephen’s Baptist Church, the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, and the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity, Development Officer for Reconciliation Services, United Inner City Services. Darron also serves on the board of his church South Broadland Presbyterian Church in Kansas City and is the current Board Chair for Heartland Chamber Music. An energetic collaborator who excels in helping businesses and people “connect the dots,” Story currently is devoting some of his time to his singing group Lo-Key?. Also, as an independent producer building his production company Intrepid Entertainment. Story currently has television projects in the works with several networks. Darron Story is married to his lovely wife Krista and has 6 sons Josh 13, Zach 16, Jonathan 22, Parker 29, Cameron 31, and Corey 34.

Story grew up spending most of his days after school and summers at the Paseo Boys Club. “I can say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that without my experience at the Paseo Boys Club I would not be the man I am today”, says Story. “In 1977, I was named Boy of The Year and to this day it’s one of the proudest moments of my life. People like Robert Palmer, Charles Porter, Andy Waters, Marcus Smith, and Rita May touched my life in ways that continue to be part of my moral compass. I will forever be a Boys and Girls Club member for life!”

The 2019 Alumni Hall of Fame class:

Charles Parker Boys and Girls Clubs Alumni

Mr. Charles Parker

Alumni of the Year

Charles Parker is a 1969 graduate of Lincoln High school. At Lincoln, he was the Class President and an All-League basketball player. Parker went on to graduate from Tarkio College in 1973 with a B.A in Business Administration and Finance. At Tarkio College, he was Athlete of the year, and All-Conference basketball (2 years).

He was inducted into Tarkio College Hall of Fame in 2009 and inducted in the AAU (CJ stars club) Hall of Fame. Parker was a longtime member of the 19th Street Boys Club Unit where he developed his basketball and athletic skills. Parker is currently the owner of Wings n Things on Troost Avenue.

Terry Wilson Boys and Girls Clubs Alumni

Terry Wilson

Service Alumni of the Year

Terry Wilson was a Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City Board Member from 2004 through 2008 and again from 2010 through 2018.  His connection with the Clubs began when he was in Milwaukee and continued when Terry and his family relocated back to his hometown of Kansas City in 2004. Terry formed and served as Vice-Chair of the Investment Committee served as Board Treasurer and Vice-Chair of the Finance Committee in the mid-2000s during some challenging financial times and served as Vice-Chair of the Resource Development Committee in 2013 and 2014.  His tenure as Board Chair in 2015 and 2016 saw the opening of the Olathe Unit, and the re-opening of the Thornberry Pool and Aquatic Center.  Terry was named by the Missouri Area Council of BGCA as the Missouri Volunteer of the year in 2015. He is currently serving on the Legacy Campaign Committee which is charged with fundraising to ensure the long term work of Boys & Girls Clubs in the Greater Kansas City community.

Terry is a Cum Laude Graduate of Missouri State University with a B.S. Degree in Economics and graduate of The Securities Industry Institute at The Wharton School of Business.  He has had a 30 plus year career in the Wealth Management Industry and currently is Senior Vice President/Director of The Kansas City Market for Stifel Financial one of the country’s premier investment firms.

Terry lives in Lee’s Summit, Missouri with his wife Christine.  They have 4 grown children and five grandchildren.

Ronald Williams Boys and Girls Clubs Alumni

Ronald Williams

Sport Alumni of the Year

Ronald Williams coached football at the Thornberry Boys Club Unit in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  Coach Williams not only introduced many young men to the game of football, but he also taught them about competition and other valuable life lessons. Coach Williams youth coaching background includes: Suburban 7 League North Kansas City; Kansas City Missouri Parks & Recreation; Overland Park, Johnson County, Kansas; and Magnolia High School, Anaheim, California. Williams is a licensed State of California electrical contractor and recently unretired electrical contractor in nuclear generation.

Charles Parker is a 1969 graduate of Lincoln High school. At Lincoln, he was the Class President and an All-League basketball player. Parker went on to graduate from Tarkio College in 1973 with a B.A in Business Administration and Finance. At Tarkio College, he was Athlete of the year, and All-Conference basketball (2 years).

He was inducted into Tarkio College Hall of Fame in 2009 and inducted in the AAU (CJ stars club) Hall of Fame. Parker was a longtime member of the 19th Street Boys Club Unit where he developed his basketball and athletic skills. Parker is currently the owner of Wings n Things on Troost Avenue.

Terry Wilson was a Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City Board Member from 2004 through 2008 and again from 2010 through 2018.  His connection with the Clubs began when he was in Milwaukee and continued when Terry and his family relocated back to his hometown of Kansas City in 2004. Terry formed and served as Vice-Chair of the Investment Committee served as Board Treasurer and Vice-Chair of the Finance Committee in the mid-2000s during some challenging financial times and served as Vice-Chair of the Resource Development Committee in 2013 and 2014.  His tenure as Board Chair in 2015 and 2016 saw the opening of the Olathe Unit, and the re-opening of the Thornberry Pool and Aquatic Center.  Terry was named by the Missouri Area Council of BGCA as the Missouri Volunteer of the year in 2015. He is currently serving on the Legacy Campaign Committee which is charged with fundraising to ensure the long term work of Boys & Girls Clubs in the Greater Kansas City community.

Terry is a Cum Laude Graduate of Missouri State University with a B.S. Degree in Economics and graduate of The Securities Industry Institute at The Wharton School of Business.  He has had a 30 plus year career in the Wealth Management Industry and currently is Senior Vice President/Director of The Kansas City Market for Stifel Financial one of the country’s premier investment firms.

Terry lives in Lee’s Summit, Missouri with his wife Christine.  They have 4 grown children and five grandchildren.

Ronald Williams coached football at the Thornberry Boys Club Unit in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  Coach Williams not only introduced many young men to the game of football, but he also taught them about competition and other valuable life lessons. Coach Williams youth coaching background includes: Suburban 7 League North Kansas City; Kansas City Missouri Parks & Recreation; Overland Park, Johnson County, Kansas; and Magnolia High School, Anaheim, California. Williams is a licensed State of California electrical contractor and recently unretired electrical contractor in nuclear generation.

The 2018 Alumni Hall of Fame class:

Frank Caro Boys and Girls Clubs of Grater Kansas City Club Alumni

Frank Caro

Alumni of the Year

Frank Caro grew up attending what was at the time the Boys Club in Worcester, Massachusetts with his brothers.  The Club provided him a welcoming place to engage in activities with friends and have fun.  Today, Frank is a Shareholder at Polsinelli law firm. As chair of the firm’s national energy group, Frank has been representing clients in the electric, gas and telecommunications industries for more than 25 years, during which time he has assisted in structuring complex business, regulatory and legislative solutions to his clients’ most challenging legal problems.

Prior to joining the firm, Frank served as general counsel for the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) and acted as chief trial counsel in numerous hearings before the KCC.

Frank is married with three children. His wife, Melanie, is an attorney for the State of Kansas District of Children & Family Services in Kansas City, Kansas. Frank is the current board chair of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City’s Board of Directors.

Ollie Gates

Alumni of the Year

Ollie Walter Gates, the youngest of three children born to George and Arzelia Gates on July 3, 1932 in Kansas City, received his education in the public schools of Kansas City MO and graduated in 1949.

The family restaurant business, Gates Bar-B-Que, which opened in 1946, had begun to prosper.   Having excelled in masonry and physical education, a football scholarship was awarded him to attend Maryland State College at Princess Anne, Maryland.  Summer vacations from college were spent working at the family restaurant.

Following two years of academic work at Maryland State College, a move was made to matriculate (to admit as a student) at Lincoln University in Jefferson City Missouri in order commute on weekends to work and grow with the family business.  This transfer negated the scholarship and increased personal responsibilities for meeting the tuition, room and board.  In addition to spending weekends in Kansas City, working as a brick laying student on campus boosted the income to complete an education at Lincoln University in 1954.

Prior to entering the United States Army, Ollie married Maureen Shepherd in 1952, from their union five children were born.

Entering the army as 2nd Lieutenant and completed the United States Army, School of Engineering, in Fort Belvoir, Virginia in 1955.  Ollie was discharged as 1st Lieutenant from active duty after serving two years in the United States Corps of Engineers and entered inactive duty with the 242nd Transportation Battalion National Guard in Kansas City Missouri.

1956 was the year the first “ground-up” restaurant was built.  That herald the beginning of the “Gates’ Bar-B-Q Industry” which exists today.  There are now six family manned and operated restaurants.

Building and living in the heart of the city has sparked an interest in the native Kansas Citizen for community projects including housing a Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City Unit location.  Ollie Gates’ vow, as long as he can, will be instrumental in the growth of the community and the growth of the city.

Isaiah Faulkner Boys and girls clubs of greater kansas city club alumni

Isaiah Faulkner

Service Alumni of the Year

Isaiah Faulkner was born and raised Kansas City, Missouri.  He is a 1976 graduate of Manual High School.  He received an undergraduate degree from Park University in 2007 and a Master’s in Education from Park University in 2016. Isaiah spent 28 years in the United States Marine Corps, retiring in 2003.

Isaiah is currently an Assistant Principal/Dean of Students at Frontier School Excellence.

Isaiah is an active member of Sheffield Family Life church.  In addition to his volunteer service at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City, Isaiah also serves as a volunteer member of the United Way Finance Committee.

Frank Caro grew up attending what was at the time the Boys Club in Worcester, Massachusetts with his brothers.  The Club provided him a welcoming place to engage in activities with friends and have fun.  Today, Frank is a Shareholder at Polsinelli law firm. As chair of the firm’s national energy group, Frank has been representing clients in the electric, gas and telecommunications industries for more than 25 years, during which time he has assisted in structuring complex business, regulatory and legislative solutions to his clients’ most challenging legal problems.

Prior to joining the firm, Frank served as general counsel for the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) and acted as chief trial counsel in numerous hearings before the KCC.

Frank is married with three children. His wife, Melanie, is an attorney for the State of Kansas District of Children & Family Services in Kansas City, Kansas. Frank is the current board chair of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City’s Board of Directors.

Ollie Walter Gates, the youngest of three children born to George and Arzelia Gates on July 3, 1932 in Kansas City, received his education in the public schools of Kansas City MO and graduated in 1949.

The family restaurant business, Gates Bar-B-Que, which opened in 1946, had begun to prosper.   Having excelled in masonry and physical education, a football scholarship was awarded him to attend Maryland State College at Princess Anne, Maryland.  Summer vacations from college were spent working at the family restaurant.

Following two years of academic work at Maryland State College, a move was made to matriculate (to admit as a student) at Lincoln University in Jefferson City Missouri in order commute on weekends to work and grow with the family business.  This transfer negated the scholarship and increased personal responsibilities for meeting the tuition, room and board.  In addition to spending weekends in Kansas City, working as a brick laying student on campus boosted the income to complete an education at Lincoln University in 1954.

Prior to entering the United States Army, Ollie married Maureen Shepherd in 1952, from their union five children were born.

Entering the army as 2nd Lieutenant and completed the United States Army, School of Engineering, in Fort Belvoir, Virginia in 1955.  Ollie was discharged as 1st Lieutenant from active duty after serving two years in the United States Corps of Engineers and entered inactive duty with the 242nd Transportation Battalion National Guard in Kansas City Missouri.

1956 was the year the first “ground-up” restaurant was built.  That herald the beginning of the “Gates’ Bar-B-Q Industry” which exists today.  There are now six family manned and operated restaurants.

Building and living in the heart of the city has sparked an interest in the native Kansas Citizen for community projects including housing a Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City Unit location.  Ollie Gates’ vow, as long as he can, will be instrumental in the growth of the community and the growth of the city.

Isaiah Faulkner was born and raised Kansas City, Missouri.  He is a 1976 graduate of Manual High School.  He received an undergraduate degree from Park University in 2007 and a Master’s in Education from Park University in 2016. Isaiah spent 28 years in the United States Marine Corps, retiring in 2003.

Isaiah is currently an Assistant Principal/Dean of Students at Frontier School Excellence.

Isaiah is an active member of Sheffield Family Life church.  In addition to his volunteer service at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City, Isaiah also serves as a volunteer member of the United Way Finance Committee.

ayanna webster

A’Yanna Webster

Service Alumni of the Year

A’Yanna Webster has served as a volunteer and a voice for Greater Kansas City youth since she herself was a small girl attending the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City, Thornberry Unit.

A’Yanna’s great future and her voice were harnessed as an eleven year old member of the Kansas City Marching Cobras. Often talkative, A’Yanna’s knack for speech was recognized by Club leaders and she was made the “unofficial” media spokesperson for the world famous drill-team. Developing her gift for public speaking was also cultivated at the Clubs through her participation in Keystone and other programs.  A’Yanna believes that these early positive experiences were instrumental in her decision to pursue a degree in Communication Arts; which consequently led to a career in news media, a national speaking platform, and ultimately to her decision to start a business focused on using her voice to help others.

Over the past 20 years, A’Yanna has continued to give her voice back to the Clubs including serving as a guest speaker for the Clubs’ annual Graduation Celebration, as a public speaking and presentation coach to Youth of the Year winners, and as an adult mentor/coach to the SMART Girls program.  A’Yanna has also continued to be involved in planning alumni events for both the Clubs and the Marching Cobras. In addition to her volunteerism with the Clubs, A’Yanna has consistently given her time, talent, and treasure to a number of local and national organizations that benefit youth-including but not limited to YMCA Young Achievers, Girl Scouts of America, and Kansas City Public Schools.

A’Yanna is the Principal Consultant & Owner of Winning Within & Associates, LLC., an organizational development consulting firm.  She has over 20 years of experience in human resources, training and development, executive coaching and business consulting.  She is an accomplished keynote speaker, professional facilitator, and Certified Strengths Coach known for her ability to inspire clients to action that breeds results. A’Yanna is also a published author and an avid reader.

A’Yanna holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Radio /TV Communication, a Masters of Public Affairs degree, and a Doctorate in Christian Psychology.

Most notably, she is the proud wife of Garrett Sr. and mom to Chamberlain, age 10, and Garrett, II, age 7.  She and her family reside in Kansas City, Misouri and enjoy attending Kansas City Royals baseball games, visiting local ice cream shops, and riding bikes through their

JaRon Rush, Kareem Rush and Brandon Rush

Sport Alumni of the Year

When it comes to basketball royalty in Kansas City, the Rush brothers are at the top. Growing up, JaRon, Kareem and Brandon could often be found working on their basketball skills at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City.

JaRon played high school basketball at Pembroke Hill School in Kansas City, Missouri where he won the James A. DiRenna Award as the best basketball player in the Kansas City metro area. He played college basketball at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). JaRon played professionally for the ABA’s Los Angeles Stars and the Roanoke Dazzle of the NBA Development League.

After graduating from Pembroke Hill School in Kansas City, Kareem was a star basketball player at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. Kareem has played for the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers, Charlotte Bobcats, Seattle SuperSonics, Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Clippers.

­­­­­­­­­­­Brandon Rush, the youngest Rush brother, played high school basketball at Westport High School in Kansas City, Missouri and Mt. Zion Christian Academy in Durham, North Carolina. He was a member of the University of Kansas’ 2008 NCAA title team. Brandon has also won an NBA championship with the Golden State Warriors.

A’Yanna Webster has served as a volunteer and a voice for Greater Kansas City youth since she herself was a small girl attending the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City, Thornberry Unit.

A’Yanna’s great future and her voice were harnessed as an eleven year old member of the Kansas City Marching Cobras. Often talkative, A’Yanna’s knack for speech was recognized by Club leaders and she was made the “unofficial” media spokesperson for the world famous drill-team. Developing her gift for public speaking was also cultivated at the Clubs through her participation in Keystone and other programs.  A’Yanna believes that these early positive experiences were instrumental in her decision to pursue a degree in Communication Arts; which consequently led to a career in news media, a national speaking platform, and ultimately to her decision to start a business focused on using her voice to help others.

Over the past 20 years, A’Yanna has continued to give her voice back to the Clubs including serving as a guest speaker for the Clubs’ annual Graduation Celebration, as a public speaking and presentation coach to Youth of the Year winners, and as an adult mentor/coach to the SMART Girls program.  A’Yanna has also continued to be involved in planning alumni events for both the Clubs and the Marching Cobras. In addition to her volunteerism with the Clubs, A’Yanna has consistently given her time, talent, and treasure to a number of local and national organizations that benefit youth-including but not limited to YMCA Young Achievers, Girl Scouts of America, and Kansas City Public Schools.

A’Yanna is the Principal Consultant & Owner of Winning Within & Associates, LLC., an organizational development consulting firm.  She has over 20 years of experience in human resources, training and development, executive coaching and business consulting.  She is an accomplished keynote speaker, professional facilitator, and Certified Strengths Coach known for her ability to inspire clients to action that breeds results. A’Yanna is also a published author and an avid reader.

A’Yanna holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Radio /TV Communication, a Masters of Public Affairs degree, and a Doctorate in Christian Psychology.

Most notably, she is the proud wife of Garrett Sr. and mom to Chamberlain, age 10, and Garrett, II, age 7.  She and her family reside in Kansas City, Misouri and enjoy attending Kansas City Royals baseball games, visiting local ice cream shops, and riding bikes through their

When it comes to basketball royalty in Kansas City, the Rush brothers are at the top. Growing up, JaRon, Kareem and Brandon could often be found working on their basketball skills at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City.

JaRon played high school basketball at Pembroke Hill School in Kansas City, Missouri where he won the James A. DiRenna Award as the best basketball player in the Kansas City metro area. He played college basketball at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). JaRon played professionally for the ABA’s Los Angeles Stars and the Roanoke Dazzle of the NBA Development League.

After graduating from Pembroke Hill School in Kansas City, Kareem was a star basketball player at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. Kareem has played for the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers, Charlotte Bobcats, Seattle SuperSonics, Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Clippers.

­­­­­­­­­­­Brandon Rush, the youngest Rush brother, played high school basketball at Westport High School in Kansas City, Missouri and Mt. Zion Christian Academy in Durham, North Carolina. He was a member of the University of Kansas’ 2008 NCAA title team. Brandon has also won an NBA championship with the Golden State Warriors.

The 2017 Alumni Hall of Fame Class:

2017 BGC GKC hall of fame

Willie Arthur Smith

Alumni of the Year

Charles Porter

Sports Alumni of the Year

Jack Woods (posthumously)

Sports Alumni of the Year

Damon Bryant

Service Alumni of the Year

Joey Smith

Service Alumni of the Year

The 2016 Alumni Hall of Fame class:

Kevin Mahogany

Alumni of the Year Award

Kevin Mahogany, who has been described by Newsweek magazine as “the standout jazz vocalist of his generation”, got his start as a musician participating in the 4H Boys & Girls Clubs Jazz Ensemble. The group played for multiple Boys & Girls Club events as well as toured Kansas City parks during the summer, providing outdoor entertainment for families. Mahogany currently resides in Florida but continues to return home to Kansas City to play at multiple events in the Historic Jazz District and at the Kauffman Performing Arts Center.

Peeler Family

The Peeler Family

Sport Alumni of the Year Award

The Peeler Family

Larry Peeler worked alongside John Thornberry when the Clubs’ Thornberry Unit opened its’ doors in 1967. Peeler went on to coach numerous sporting teams at the Clubs, taking both basketball and baseball teams to the national championships. In 1968, Peeler’s wife, Carolyn Peeler began working as the Clubs’ membership secretary in the administrative office located on 19th Street in Kansas City, Missouri. The Peeler children were also very active in the Clubs, including Anthony Peeler who began attending the Boys & Girls Clubs at the age of five. Anthony Peeler learned to play basketball in the Clubs receiving coaching from his father Larry Peeler as well as Lester Burks and Alvin Clark, Sr., both past recipients of the Clubs’ Sport Alumni of the Year honor.  Anthony Peeler went on to enjoy a 13-year career in the NBA.

Robert Palmer & John Palmer

Service Alumni of the Year

Robert Palmer and John Palmer.

Robert Palmer, former assistant executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City, served the organization for more than 34 years. Palmer’s son, business executive John Palmer, virtually grew up in the Clubs. For a number of years, John Palmer underwrote the dinners for the Clubs Steak and Hamburger Dinner, the predecessor to the present Kids Night Out fund-raising event, so that all of the proceeds would go to the Boys & Girls Clubs.

Kevin Mahogany, who has been described by Newsweek magazine as “the standout jazz vocalist of his generation”, got his start as a musician participating in the 4H Boys & Girls Clubs Jazz Ensemble. The group played for multiple Boys & Girls Club events as well as toured Kansas City parks during the summer, providing outdoor entertainment for families. Mahogany currently resides in Florida but continues to return home to Kansas City to play at multiple events in the Historic Jazz District and at the Kauffman Performing Arts Center.

The Peeler Family

Larry Peeler worked alongside John Thornberry when the Clubs’ Thornberry Unit opened its’ doors in 1967. Peeler went on to coach numerous sporting teams at the Clubs, taking both basketball and baseball teams to the national championships. In 1968, Peeler’s wife, Carolyn Peeler began working as the Clubs’ membership secretary in the administrative office located on 19th Street in Kansas City, Missouri. The Peeler children were also very active in the Clubs, including Anthony Peeler who began attending the Boys & Girls Clubs at the age of five. Anthony Peeler learned to play basketball in the Clubs receiving coaching from his father Larry Peeler as well as Lester Burks and Alvin Clark, Sr., both past recipients of the Clubs’ Sport Alumni of the Year honor.  Anthony Peeler went on to enjoy a 13-year career in the NBA.

Robert Palmer and John Palmer.

Robert Palmer, former assistant executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City, served the organization for more than 34 years. Palmer’s son, business executive John Palmer, virtually grew up in the Clubs. For a number of years, John Palmer underwrote the dinners for the Clubs Steak and Hamburger Dinner, the predecessor to the present Kids Night Out fund-raising event, so that all of the proceeds would go to the Boys & Girls Clubs.

Catherine Ray

Service Alumni of the Year

Catherine Ray contributed in countless ways to the Boys & Girls Clubs. From cooking meals for Club kids and assistance with Club reading programs, to making regular financial gifts and service on the Board of Directors, Ray was considered to be one of the Clubs’ strongest volunteers.  Ray’s service to the Clubs expanded the course of nearly thirty years.

Catherine Ray contributed in countless ways to the Boys & Girls Clubs. From cooking meals for Club kids and assistance with Club reading programs, to making regular financial gifts and service on the Board of Directors, Ray was considered to be one of the Clubs’ strongest volunteers.  Ray’s service to the Clubs expanded the course of nearly thirty years.

2015 Alumni Hall of Fame class:

Don Wagner

Alumni of the Year

Don Wagner, major club benefactor, advocate and former BGCGKC board member.

Don Wagner is a private investor and General Partner of Wagner Investments, L.P. He worked for Trico Industries, a New York Stock Exchange company, in various positions from 1970, including President from 1984 – 1990. He acquired CST Industries from Trico Industries in 1990 and sold the company in 2006. Formerly Chairman of the Board of both the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City and Friends of the Kansas City Zoo. Currently serves as a Board Member for CST Industries, Inc., the National Association of Basketball Coaches Foundation, The Police Foundation of Kansas City, Tnemec, Co. Inc., was past President and current Board Member of The River Club, and is a Trustee of the University of Missouri at Kansas City. Don Wagner is a graduate of the University of Tulsa in 1967 and the Stanford Executive.  He lives in Kansas City, Missouri with his wife, Jean They have three grown children and one grandchild.

Gerald Woods

Alumni of the Year

Gerald Woods, director of the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant at Children’s Mercy Hospital.

Gerald M. Woods, MD, is the director of the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant at Children’s Mercy. He is a professor of pediatrics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine.

Selected three times for AMA’s prestigious Physician’s Recognition Award, Dr. Woods has received innumerable awards including Best Doctors in America for 19 years running, and the Commendation Medal for his service as a Major in the USAF.

Dr. Woods is a member of the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, American Society of Hematology, American Pediatric Society, and a Fellow of the AAP. He has served on several civic and scientific boards.

 A published author of more than 100 scientific papers, Dr. Woods is a respected speaker on pediatrics, sickle cell and hematology. He is the co-founder and medical director of Camp Courage for children with sickle cell.

Dr. Woods received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine. He completed his residency at Children’s Mercy and fellowship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Duke University Medical Center.

Lester Burks

Sport Alumni of the Year

Lester Burks, the first director for the John Thornberry Unit when it opened its doors in 1968. (posthumously)

Lester J. Burks was born on October 23, 1930, in Ashdown, Arkansas. He received his formal education in Ashdown. He attended Grambling College in Grambling LA and after three years went in the Armed Services and served two years. He played with the Harlem Globetrotters for seven years and migrated to Kansas City Missouri after leaving the team.
He was Director of the Thornberry Boys Club for approximately 10 years and later employed as a Director at City of Kansas Parks and Recreation Department.

Don Wagner, major club benefactor, advocate and former BGCGKC board member.

Don Wagner is a private investor and General Partner of Wagner Investments, L.P. He worked for Trico Industries, a New York Stock Exchange company, in various positions from 1970, including President from 1984 – 1990. He acquired CST Industries from Trico Industries in 1990 and sold the company in 2006. Formerly Chairman of the Board of both the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City and Friends of the Kansas City Zoo. Currently serves as a Board Member for CST Industries, Inc., the National Association of Basketball Coaches Foundation, The Police Foundation of Kansas City, Tnemec, Co. Inc., was past President and current Board Member of The River Club, and is a Trustee of the University of Missouri at Kansas City. Don Wagner is a graduate of the University of Tulsa in 1967 and the Stanford Executive.  He lives in Kansas City, Missouri with his wife, Jean They have three grown children and one grandchild.

Gerald Woods, director of the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant at Children’s Mercy Hospital.

Gerald M. Woods, MD, is the director of the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant at Children’s Mercy. He is a professor of pediatrics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine.

Selected three times for AMA’s prestigious Physician’s Recognition Award, Dr. Woods has received innumerable awards including Best Doctors in America for 19 years running, and the Commendation Medal for his service as a Major in the USAF.

Dr. Woods is a member of the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, American Society of Hematology, American Pediatric Society, and a Fellow of the AAP. He has served on several civic and scientific boards.

 A published author of more than 100 scientific papers, Dr. Woods is a respected speaker on pediatrics, sickle cell and hematology. He is the co-founder and medical director of Camp Courage for children with sickle cell.

Dr. Woods received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine. He completed his residency at Children’s Mercy and fellowship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Duke University Medical Center.

Lester Burks, the first director for the John Thornberry Unit when it opened its doors in 1968. (posthumously)

Lester J. Burks was born on October 23, 1930, in Ashdown, Arkansas. He received his formal education in Ashdown. He attended Grambling College in Grambling LA and after three years went in the Armed Services and served two years. He played with the Harlem Globetrotters for seven years and migrated to Kansas City Missouri after leaving the team.
He was Director of the Thornberry Boys Club for approximately 10 years and later employed as a Director at City of Kansas Parks and Recreation Department.

Alvin Clark, Sr.

Sport Alumni of the Year

Alvin Clark, Sr., a devoted Club athletic coach for nearly 40 years taking both basketball and baseball teams to the national championships.

This is about a man who is anything but average and has lived a life that has been extraordinary in many ways. Born Feb 28, 1936, Alvin A Clark Sr is the 8th of nine children of Mr. & Mrs. Leonard G. Clark Sr. Educated in Kansas City Missouri school district. Shortly after graduating high school in 1956, Alvin married his high school sweetheart Evonia Riley and to this union, five children were born. He has influenced the lives of many children starting back as early as 1968 when he began volunteering as a coach. Some of his coaching highlights were in 1974 he took his Biddy Basketball Team to the nationals in New Orleans. Also the same year his Mickey Mantle Baseball Team (Art Bunker) advanced to the Nationals in Sharman, Texas. His Stan Mursal 18 and over Baseball team competed in the nationals in Dallas, Texas in 1982. For 40 plus years his fundamental work ethic and coaching help lay the groundwork for developing successful life skills in youth.

Steve Sestak

Service Alumni of the Year Award

Steve Sestak, founder and partner of MarketSphere Consulting, LLC and former BGCGKC board chair.

Steve is the Founder and former Chief Executive Officer of MarketSphere Consulting, a diverse business advisory firm with specialized practices in the areas of unclaimed property, marketing operations, mobile direct response, and health care payment processing.

Steve founded MarketSphere in 2002 after sixteen years with the Andersen organization where he had served as the Managing Partner of the Business Consulting division in Kansas City / Omaha. He graduated from Northwest Missouri State University in 1986 with a degree in Management / Data Processing.
Steve served on the Board of Directors of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City from 2004 to 2014, including serving as Board Chairman in 2011 & 2012. He also serves or has served on the KU Advancement Board, the United Way Campaign Cabinet, and the Chairman Circle for the American Cancer Society.

Alvin Clark, Sr., a devoted Club athletic coach for nearly 40 years taking both basketball and baseball teams to the national championships.

This is about a man who is anything but average and has lived a life that has been extraordinary in many ways. Born Feb 28, 1936, Alvin A Clark Sr is the 8th of nine children of Mr. & Mrs. Leonard G. Clark Sr. Educated in Kansas City Missouri school district. Shortly after graduating high school in 1956, Alvin married his high school sweetheart Evonia Riley and to this union, five children were born. He has influenced the lives of many children starting back as early as 1968 when he began volunteering as a coach. Some of his coaching highlights were in 1974 he took his Biddy Basketball Team to the nationals in New Orleans. Also the same year his Mickey Mantle Baseball Team (Art Bunker) advanced to the Nationals in Sharman, Texas. His Stan Mursal 18 and over Baseball team competed in the nationals in Dallas, Texas in 1982. For 40 plus years his fundamental work ethic and coaching help lay the groundwork for developing successful life skills in youth.

Steve Sestak, founder and partner of MarketSphere Consulting, LLC and former BGCGKC board chair.

Steve is the Founder and former Chief Executive Officer of MarketSphere Consulting, a diverse business advisory firm with specialized practices in the areas of unclaimed property, marketing operations, mobile direct response, and health care payment processing.

Steve founded MarketSphere in 2002 after sixteen years with the Andersen organization where he had served as the Managing Partner of the Business Consulting division in Kansas City / Omaha. He graduated from Northwest Missouri State University in 1986 with a degree in Management / Data Processing.
Steve served on the Board of Directors of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City from 2004 to 2014, including serving as Board Chairman in 2011 & 2012. He also serves or has served on the KU Advancement Board, the United Way Campaign Cabinet, and the Chairman Circle for the American Cancer Society.

2014 Alumni Hall of Fame class:

Club Alumnus David A. Smith.

As a Club kid, David A. Smith grew up playing baseball, basketball and was involved in many other activities in what was then known as the Boys Club. In 1968, Smith was one of the first members to walk through the doors of the newly erected John Thornberry Unit at the corner of 43rd Street and Cleveland Avenue. He graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City with a Masters Degree in Communications and has used his skills as a communicator ever since. He was Assistant Basketball Coach and Sports Information Director for the Fighting Kangaroos at UMKC.  In 1982, Smith began a 12-year career with the YMCA of Greater Kansas City.

In February 1994, David A. Smith became President of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City, an agency from which he benefited as a child. In April 2002, Smith was elected to the Kansas City Missouri School Board as an at-large member and reelected in 2006.

Smith has received numerous awards and recognitions; among them include the Greater Kansas City Council on Philanthropy’s Non-Profit Executive of the Year in 2002 and the Centurions’ Bernard Powell Award from the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.  Smith was selected by the UMKC Alumni Association to receive the 2002 Alumni Service Award.  In 2003, Smith received a Distinguished Citizen Award from the National Conference for Community and Justice.

In 2005 Smith was recognized as the winner of the national Herman S. Prescott Award for exemplifying the principles of diversity, equality, and empowerment in his work within the Boys & Girls Clubs movement.

Smith’s life work has focused on local and national efforts in the areas of youth development, mentoring, and innovative not-for-profit management.