Friday, April 03, 2009
Actor's $50,000 Keeps Boys/Girls Club Running
By Dan Mayfield
Journal Staff Writer
A Hollywood angel has saved a piece of Roswell.
The southern New Mexico city's Boys and Girls Club was hurting.
Arthur Garcia, its executive director, said his club which has been in Roswell since 1965 was on the verge of closing for the summer, its busiest time. The economy, he said, had taken its toll on donations the club needs to survive.
"We were drowning," he said. "Even our grants have been cut."
So, last week after KRQE Channel 13 did a story on the club's financial pain, Denzel Washington called to say he'd love to help.
Washington, who is in Albuquerque filming the "Book of Eli" at Albuquerque Studios, donated $50,000 to the club, enough to keep it open through the summer.
"He just happened to watch it," Garcia said. "Next thing you know, I'm in contact with the movie producer David Valdes, but I didn't know he was the producer. He gave me the red carpet treatment."
Washington is a longtime fan of Boys and Girls Clubs, Garcia said. He got his start in acting as a boy in Mount Vernon, N.Y., when his club put on a play as a fundraiser and he caught the acting bug.
"He wanted to give back to the club that gave him a platform," Garcia said.
Boys and Girls Clubs count Washington, Brad Pitt, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Martin Sheen and Neil Diamond as famous alumni.
Washington, the star of blockbusters like "Training Day," "Malcolm X" and "Inside Man," treated Garcia to a VIP day on the set Tuesday.
"I got to see Denzel doing some action scenes with Gary Oldman," Garcia said. "In between takes, he spoke to me about his club. He makes you feel warm and welcome.
"Hopefully, this will motivate the community. Somebody who's not even from here showed how important it is to invest in the youth. Stuff like this needs to be recognized."