The Founders' Society
The Founder’s Society was established on October 24, 2015 to give recognition and honor to those individuals who have a history of distinguished service and have made a significant contribution to the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Ventura over a sustained period of time.
Recipients have made lasting contributions in one or more of the following areas:
20 Years or more of sustained service to the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Ventura Demonstrated over a period of time, a contribution which has created sustainability or capacity building for the organization. Established a new program, network or facet of the organization that has moved the Club forward for a period of 10 years or more.
We hold these individuals in the highest esteem and give honor to them for their vision, dedication and unyielding efforts to provide the positive change that we seek for the future of our community’s youth.
Founders' Society Inaugural Members
BILL HICKS & SPENCER GARRETT
These two men are the inaugural members of the Founders’ Society for their distinguished service to the youth of Ventura over a sustained 35 year period.
In 1979, Bill Hick’s was President of the Boys Club and Spencer Garrett was the President of the Girls Club. The two were inducted together for their significant role in the 1980 merger of the Boys Club and the Girls Club into the Boys & Girls Club of Ventura and led the way for other Clubs in California do the same.
Over the past 35 years and continuing long after their original membership on the Club's Board of Directors, these two have answered every call to meet every challenge threatening or otherwise facing our Club and it's life-building programs including responding to financial challenges, resource development, Board development governance challenges and personnel challenges to mention only a few.
When asked, they never said, "No", never said, "Maybe", and never said, "Sorry, I'm too busy." Foremost in their minds and hearts has always been the welfare of those beautiful children that we serve, for many of whom our programs are the only positive influences in their young lives.
Successful non-profits must do two things: provide great programs and raise the money to provide those programs. John is an example of what many of the inductees have done.
John joined the Board in 1993 and served for 15 years including a term as president in 1998. In 1995 John led the effort to create a sustaining support campaign known as the Silver Handshake Club.
John’s legacy is the juggling program that he started in 1998. It’s still running and he still volunteers weekly providing instruction in juggling, uni-cycling and acting as a mentor. All of us have no doubt seen John and his students perform over the years. Some of the youth he has mentored have gone on to bigger and better things. One of those kids was Stewart Sinclair, who has since graduated from Loyola University with a degree in Journalism, had articles published, is now working for a company called Vital Strategies and has become quite the world traveler. That is what the Club is all about.
John has raised funds for the Club on long distance bicycle rides, through sales of his photography, through rentals of his house in Pismo Beach and inspiring others to give major gifts to the club.
We are pleased to induct John into the Founders’ Society.
Congratulations and thanks John.
RICHARD "DICK" BUCHANAN
Dick became a Board Member in 1963. This was a time of real change for the Club. He, along with Mel Fowler and Dave Sherrill, started the building fund campaign that led to the construction of the Olive Street Club. They raised over $175,000 to accomplish this task, which was a considerable amount of money at that time!
Dick became the third president of the Club in 1967. During construction, Dick spent most of his spare time pounding nails, digging ditches, and shooting a few hoops in the new gym. Speaking of hoops, Dick started the Kiwanis Boys basketball tournament that continues to this day. He was also chair or co-chair of the Boys & Girls Club golf tournament for 15 years.
Dick was in the insurance business for 40 years. His office was just around the corner from us at 63 South California Street. He now resides in Boise Idaho.
Congratulations, Dick Buchanan!
In 1979, Gary Nasalroad wrestled the Club Presidency away from Bill Hicks. It’s a good thing that Joe Carmody was not President at that time because there are not many people that could ever wrestle anything away from Joe.
Thirty years ago, Joe Carmody joined the Board of the Boys & Girls Club of Ventura. It didn’t take him long to become fully immersed in Club activities.
In 1989 Joe started a wrestling program at the Club. It began with 4 or 5 kids after school a couple days a week. At its height there were 125 to 130 kids participating and there were practices 5 nights a week. Joe ran this program for 15 years and his impact on Ventura youth was immense. If you know Joe, you would say that he certainly does not lack enthusiasm and you can bet that our Club members learned a lot of valuable life lessons from Joe.
How big of an impact has Joe made on the lives of Ventura youth? In March 2016 he headed to New York to once again watch the National Wrestling Championships. In 2015 one of his former students placed third in the 179 pound division. The following year Joe was there to root him on again – and that year he was ranked #1 in the nation as a senior at Penn State. Without Joe, would that have ever happened?
We are pleased to induct Joe Carmody into the Founders’ Society.
Congratulations and thanks Joe.
Mel Fowler joined the Ventura Boys Club board in 1963 and it didn’t take him long to take over as President. Mel served in that capacity for three years from 1964-1966.
Those early years were busy ones for the Club. Mel worked with a small group of incredibly talented and dedicated men. The Club had been serving youth for only 15 months when Mel took over the reins from another of our inductees: Dave Sherrill. He was instrumental in arranging a lease with the Ventura School District to relocate the clubhouse from a 108 year old adobe house on West Main Street to the E.P. Foster playground.
Under his leadership the Board set out on a $175,000 fundraising campaign and the successful campaign led to the start of construction in 1967.
His contributions to the Club were wide ranging: from establishing a strong relationship with the United Fund to serving on the Tri-Counties Area Council and working with neighboring communities to start other Boys Clubs.
Mel was awarded the Boys Club Medallion Award in 1970.
We are pleased to induct Mel into the Founders’ Society.
Congratulations and thanks Mel.
E.J. & MYRA HARRISON
Years ago, E.J. & Myra Harrison were two hardworking parents with children to raise, not unlike many of our club parents today. Their oldest son Ralph attended our club sometime in the late 1930’s or early 1940’s when it was known as the Police Boys Club and was housed in the Ortega Adobe!
E.J. & Myra had great work ethics and, in addition to building their business and good reputation, they had a charitable heart and mindset to give back to their community. This ultimately led them back to the Boys & Girls Club of Ventura in the 1980’s. E.J. was friends with another supporter of the Club and told his family that he thought it would be a good organization in which they should be involved. This spearheaded regular contributions at events and a major gift to name the Games Room at the Bill LeFevre clubhouse. Unfortunately, E.J. passed away before the ceremony, but Myra and her family continued to support the club and it’s efforts to provide services to youth.
The Harrison Family became multiple year Great Auction Sponsors and it is now common for our Auction attendee list to include at least 30 or more Harrison family members!
E.J. & Myra’s son Myron served as a Board member in the past and their great grandson David is continuing the tradition by serving on the Board of an organization that once provided services to his grandfather Ralph. In addition to providing volunteer and monetary support to the Club, Harrison Industries has provided trash service to all of our locations free of charge. This has been a major savings for the Club.
Most recently, in 2011 Ralph, Jim & Myron committed to a major gift to name the clubhouse in Saticoy – The E.J. Harrison Family Youth Center. It was an impactful gift and a great tribute to a legacy that began more than a quarter of a century ago.
It gave us great pleasure to posthumously induct E.J. & Myra Harrison into the Founders’ Society. Myron Harrison accepted the award for his parents.
Jymmye was an enthusiastic member of the Ladies Auxiliary, a group that was instrumental to the success of most of the Boys Club events.
She was a key volunteer to the Great Auction. In the beginning, the Great Auction was mostly geared around Art. In 1969 it expanded to a variety of items and resembled the format that most of us know today. Jymmye was always front and center at the Auction, making sure that both the buyer and the donor of auction items were acknowledged and thanked for their support of our kids. She was affectionately given the name of “First Lady of the Great Auction” and always requested paddle #1, in fact, she was given a license plate for her car with that title and she proudly displayed it until she passed away. Paddle #1 was forever retired in her honor.
Jymmye was an active Board member for her entire life and always had tickets to sell to benefit a variety of worthy charities, including her church and the Boys & Girls Club. She was a great asset to the club, is greatly missed and just a beautiful person inside and out.
Her son Gary accepted the the Founders' Society recognition on behalf of his mother.
SUSANNE LAMMOT, M.D.
Susanne joined the Board in 1994 and has been an active member of the Board and supporter ever since. It was under her tenure as President that the Club was presented the Poinsettia Award by the Ventura Chamber of Commerce as the City’s Best Non-Profit.
For three year’s Susanne ran the Community Speaker’s Program inviting members of the community to come and share their experiences and ideas with Club members. This program drew rave review from both the kids and the speakers.
Susanne is an incredible networker always striving to create connections for the Club as she passes out her Board Member business cards. One such connection she made was with AWS who maintains our van fleet. She has also acquired countless donations over the years for the Great Auction.
Susanne has always been a fixture at the Great Auction. She is often the first to raise her paddle when people are called to Stand Up For Kids, encouraging others to follow suit. Like John and Cherie Brant she is also happy to donate a stay at her condo in Mammoth or beach house in Oxnard to the auction to help raise money.
We are pleased to induct Susanne into the Founders Society.
Congratulations and thanks Susanne.
In 1979 , Gary wrestled the Presidency of the Boys Club of Ventura away from Bill Hicks and began serving the first of three years as President. In 1981 when the Ventura Boys Club merged with the Ventura Girls Club to become the first joint club in California, Gary served as the first President of the Ventura Boys & Girls Club. Today, Gary serves on the Board of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clara Valley marking 40 consecutive years serving first in Ventura, and now for Santa Clara Valley.
Along the way, he co-chaired the Great Auction for 10 years with another inductee, Jymmye Hitch, and then chaired or co-chaired the Golf Tournament for over 10 years.
Gary is no stranger to awards honoring key volunteers for Boys & Girls Club. The Medallion Award is just one of many he has garnered and in 2009 was presented the prestigious President’s Award. We are pleased to induct Gary into the Founders' Society which makes this, of all of Gary’s awards, the most recent.
Congratulations and thanks Gary.
Larry joined the Board in the late 70’s, just as the Boys Club and Girls Club were about to merge. He held the office of President from 1985-1987.
When asked to donate or assist the Club in any way, Larry has always been there for us. He is a highly respected architect and as such, was instrumental in the planning and construction of the Club on Johnson Drive. His efforts to secure the property from the City and the Ventura Little League made this venture possible. It should be noted that the Club had 1,200 members enrolled after being open for only 3 months. The need was great and remains great to this day.
Larry also secured a $150,000 donation that helped to make building the Club a reality. He has donated many items to the Boys & Girls Club of Ventura Thrift & Vintage Store and has even donated a weekend stay at a wine vineyard he owns.
We are pleased to induct Larry into the Founders’ Society.
DAVID SHERRILL, M.D.
Dr. Dave Sherrill was the first president of the Boys Club and held that position in 1962 and 1963. He was president when the Ventura Boys Club received its charter from Boys Clubs of America. Dave was a great motivator who attracted top talent to the board, some of whom have been inducted into the Founders' Society. Dr. Sherrill was known to be fun, wear a bow tie and smile.
When boys who were going to camp or participating in sports programs needed physical examinations, Dr. Sherrill would generously donate his expertise.
At the1969 Annual Dinner, Dr. Sherrill was presented the Boys Clubs of America Medallion Award. The award was presented with a drum roll from the Club’s Drum Corp, and brought Dave to tears.
It is our honor to posthumously induct Dr. David Sherrill into the Founders' Society.
Dr. Sherrill’s wife, Regina accepted his award on his behalf.