LACONIA — The Boys & Girls Club of the Lakes Region announced yesterday that AutoServ of Tilton and the Gaudet family have contributed $100,000 toward renovating and converting the former St. James Episcopal Church on Main Street into a safe, efficient and welcoming clubhouse.
In a prepared statement, Paul Gaudet Sr., the president of AutoServ and founder of the Lakes Region Boys & Girls Club Endowment Trust, said that he first became aware of the club many years ago when Barbara Leone, one of his neighbors, visited the dealership and made what he called "an impassioned plea."
"I was so moved and realized the difference she and other of my neighbors were making volunteering and being so hands-on with these kids, kids who really need positive mentors," he continued. He confessed that at the time he could not spare time to be at the club, but instead "started out giving money personally and through our family business." That, he remarked, "grew to hitting up friends and neighbors, our dealership connections, pretty much telling the story Barbara had first told me — that this club truly changes the trajectory of kids who need support."
Chris Emond, executive director of the Boys& Girls Club of the Lakes Region, noted the Gaudet family's longstanding commitment to the club and said tthis transformational gift will make an impact for decades to come." The contribution is the most recent of many that will fund improvements to the club, including construction of a teen center, enhancing space for diverse activities and reconfiguring the foyer to monitor access to the building. In addition, installation of a new industrial kitchen will enable the club to serve hot, nutritious meals to members each evening without charge.
Jon Clay, Walt Flynn, Paul Gaudet Jr., Scott Knowles, Chris Emond, Barbara Leone, Donna Gaudet Hosmer and Ned Beebe gather for a presentation of $100,000 to the Boys & Girls Club of the Lakes Region. (Courtesy Photo)
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