The evening was another Evander Holyfield knockout.
The boxing Olympian who later held four heavyweight titles, beating Mike Tyson, Larry Holmes and George Foreman, spent time here talking with youngsters who, like him, found a special home away from home at the Boys & Girls Club. "Without the Boys Club, I wouldn't be who I am," he said. "It works."
After the club visit, it was time for a Feb. 24 Broadmoor dinner gala and celebration with the grown-ups, the donors and sponsors, many of whom captured selfies with the gracious champ and spent time chatting.
The muscular, expressive man was patient as he was mobbed for autographs and photos by little folks and big ones, too. "Chubby" had shared his life's story at the dinner. As is the wont in big families, this youngest of nine siblings had ended up with "the little one" nickname that stuck. Funny thing, he wasn't a chubby kid at all, just the little brother, he said laughing. For all those youngest ones, "your time will come."
The man who today has "Holyfield" monogrammed on the cuff of his immaculate shirt has established a Holyfield Foundation for kids, speaks to kids across the country and made a significant donation to his home club, the Atlanta Boys & Girls Club, said host James Sullivan, president/CEO of Boys & Girls Club of the Pikes Peak Region.
The gala's presenting sponsor, Raytheon, was honored for investing millions of dollars partnering with the Boys & Girls Club in or near military installations nationwide and building STEM Centers of Innovation, including at the local club.
An evening highlight was naming Dave Robinson II of James Irwin Charter High School as the Youth of the Year (tinyurl.com/j86jrjl). Other candidates: Brent Knight, Marisa Mitchell and Rebecca Starnes.
(To read Gazette sports columnist David Ramsey's Evander interview, go to tinyurl.com/hslupyt.)