Boys & Girls Club chief recognized for 30 years of service

Jim Deaner has taken on whatever his work required in thirty years on the job

Jim Deaner has taken on whatever his work required in thirty years on the job

December 09, 2009|By JANET HEIM

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Jim Deaner has worn many hats in his 30 years with Boys & Girls Club of Washington County.

When he first started in 1979, he said, he drove the van to pick up kids after school. When the van broke down, he was the "head mechanic." If the plumbing in the club's Pennsylvania Avenue location needed work, Deaner was the "head plumber," a job he still holds.

From motivating youths to building a pitched roof on the Pennsylvania Avenue facility, Deaner, 57, has taken on whatever the job required.

On Wednesday, Deaner's efforts were recognized at a luncheon of the Boys & Girls Club of Washington County board of directors at Homewood Suites by Hilton.


C. Gene Bailey, senior regional service director of Boys & Girls Club of America, traveled from New York to present Deaner with a framed certificate of the National Service to Youth Award, a medallion and a lapel pin. The pin contained six stones, one for each five years of service.

"Thirty years is a significant milestone in any person's career. We present this proudly," Bailey said.

Deaner, who hails from West Virginia, thanked the group and said he probably would put the pin on his cowboy hat.

"It's been a joy to work with our kiddies for 30 years," Deaner said.

Deaner graduated from Shepherd College with a major in Organization and Administration of Recreational Activities.

After several short-term positions, Deaner was hired Dec. 3, 1979, as program director for what was then a boys club. By May 1980, he was appointed executive director, his current position.

Girls were allowed to join the club in the early 1980s, with the name officially changing in 1989, a year before the national organization made the name change.

Deaner and his wife of 25 years, Cheryl, live in Hedgesville, W.Va. They have three children and two grandchildren. Their children all participated in club programs when they were younger, then volunteered their time as they got older, Deaner said.

"It's great. Sometimes, I feel guilty because they give me more than I give them," Deaner said of the youths he works with.

Deaner started with one location and served 500 children in one year. Thirty years later, there are six locations in the county -- three in public housing communities and two in public schools, as well as the Pennsylvania Avenue facility that serves 500 youths a day, Deaner said.

Deaner said United Way provided funds to cover 70 percent of the club's budget in the beginning. Now, United Way's contribution is about 22 percent, with the rest coming from fundraising efforts of the board and staff.

While Deaner initially was responsible for developing his own programs, the national office now provides age-appropriate programs developed and tested by leading universities.

Now, homework is the first thing that gets done when students arrive after school, Deaner said. Activities, including basketball, come later.

Bailey also recognized Deaner's leadership in the state of Maryland. He helped start a group in Frederick County that now has five sites. He also has been a leader for a statewide alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs in Maryland, with the goal of serving more children.

"His scope and impact goes beyond the children in Washington County," Bailey said.

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