SPRINGFIELD – The Springfield Boys & Girls Club will honor its second class of inductees who have been selected for its Hall of Fame. Inductees are George Caulton, Manny Fonseca, Tim Gallagher, Tony Pettaway, Abe Moses, Paul Samson and Lawrence Weekley. The Hall of Fame induction will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 1 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Springfield Sheraton. The event includes lunch and a brief program highlighting the Club’s Saturday activities, the impact of alumni on the community, the Hall of Fame induction and a private viewing of the 15th annual Festival of Trees.
George W. Caulton, Ph.D.
When thinking about individuals who dedicated their life to enhancing the well-bring of children and families in their community, George Caulton stands out from the rest. Caulton began attending the Springfield Boys Club on Chestnut Street when he was six and continued through his teen years. There he met his life-long friend and peer role model, Art Jones. Caulton participated in many activities, including boxing, game room, and especially the youth basketball league. His team, “Allies,” was coached by Donald ”Pop” Jones, an older youth and Boys Club member, who also became a role model for Caulton. He was influenced by the many dedicated staff members such as Harry Feldman and Mark Moran. Caulton served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force from 1952 to 1956. He then enrolled in American International College, and after graduating, he began practicing in social work with families in state child welfare agencies in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Caulton received his master’s degree in social work from Smith College School for Social Work in 1966 and was appointed to the position of founding assistant professor of social work at Western New England College in 1978. Caulton received his Ph.D. from Boston College School of Social Work in 2005. He retired in June 2005 with the title of professor emeritus of social work. Caulton continues to be an active volunteer in the community as he learned the value of youth development organizations during his time at the Club as a child.
Manuel “Manny” Fonseca
Manny Fonseca was a key staff member during the transition from the Chestnut Street Boys Club to the current Carew Street location in the mid-1960s. With over 22 years of youth development service, Fonseca was admired by those who knew and worked with him. Whether as a counselor, physical education director, membership director, coach, father or husband, Fonseca’s personality and character were admired by all. His passion for youth development stems from the unwavering love he had for his wife and children. Every individual, young or old, became an extension of the Fonseca family. Fonseca was known for the creation of the Daily News Basketball Tournament, but more so will always be remembered as the first smile to greet members at the Club door on Carew Street.
When he was five years old, Gallagher joined the Boys Club on Chestnut Street in January 1960. Gallagher, and his six brothers, worked their way up the ranks from Club members, to junior counselors, to staff members. Some of their fondest memories are of the summer months spent at the overnight camp in Brimfield. Tim Gallagher was the last of the Gallagher clan to attend the Club and would later join the Board of Directors. Gallagher, along with his family, created and helped fund the annual Tommy Gallagher Bright Lights event and helps secure Christmas gifts so that every Club member has a present to open. Gallagher served as chairman of the Springfield Boys & Girls Club’s Board of Directors from 2011-2014 during a time of great transition as the Club’s longtime Executive Director, Gary McCarthy, retired after 26 years of service. Along with being a hardworking businessman, devoted brother, husband, father and friend, Gallagher has always been a crusader in spreading the Club’s mission. His first days at the Springfield Boys & Girls Club were followed by a lifetime of memories and unwavering dedication as a volunteer. For decades, Gallagher has been advocating for and enhancing the lives of the youth who walk through the Club’s doors.
At an early age, Tony Pettaway relocated from Connecticut to Springfield, Mass. When he found the Springfield Boys & Girls Club at age six, it became his second home; he rarely missed a day where the doors were open. Pettaway became a role-model, and staff leaned on his leadership to organize and implement programs for his peers. At the age of 13, Tony landed his first job, working at the Club’s Bingo concession stand making $1 per hour for the next five years. From his leadership qualities and ability to mentor peers, to his involvement and competitive nature in every sport offered, the Club was instrumental in the development of Pettaway’s character. After college and service in the military, Pettaway has achieved professional success as a leader in Springfield’s Department of Health & Human Services as well as in Springfield City Hall. Most notably, Pettaway has been a fierce advocate for education reform and out-of-school-time programs, and has made a lifetime commitment to volunteering at the Club.
As a member of a family with 13 children, the Springfield Boys Club on Chestnut Street was Moses’ second home. Moses grew up on Liberty Street in Springfield, and the Club is where he formed many lifelong friendships, built character, and honed his skills. Moses began attending the Club in 1936 with his brothers. In 1942, along with Al Alissi, Moses founded the Pioneer Social Athletic Club, which would raise funds for the Springfield Boys Club through various athletic events. As a standout football player at Amherst College, a graduate of the John Hopkins School of Foreign Affairs, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, and through his work in the U.S. Department of State during the Kennedy Administration, Moses traveled the world. Through all of these accomplishments, he always remembered where he spent his early days – at the Club. Moses traveled and lived overseas, worked in a range of industries, and developed friendships with the people he encountered in his work. He continued to foster his relationship with the Springfield Boys & Girls Club as an advocate of the “Club that Beats the Streets Capital Campaign” and as a founding member of the Heritage Club, the Club’s planned giving initiative. Throughout his life, the Springfield Boys & Girls Club remained near and dear to his heart.
From a veteran of World War I, executive director of South End Community Center, president of 287 National Boys Clubs Executive Association, and finally the Springfield Boys & Girls Club executive director, Paul Samson embodied every characteristic of a transformational and charismatic leader. In its 124-year history, Samson was the longest tenured executive director of Springfield Boys & Girls Club. Over the course of 33 years, more than 25,000 members visited the Club, and Samson was known for having a personal connection with every single child. Samson was never perceived as an administrator but rather a mentor and role model. Out of the long list of lifetime awards and achievements, Samson’s most valuable was removing the word “can’t” from thousands of children’s vocabularies and enabling them to make dreams come true.
Lawrence “Larry” Weekley
At the Chestnut Street Springfield Boys Club, Larry Weekley was more commonly known as “The Coach.” Weekley became a leader through the mentoring and guidance of Paul Samson. With a strong, quiet demeanor, Weekley implemented structured youth development programs known as “Group Clubs.” These programs united youth of all backgrounds, producing regionally and nationally renowned athletes, in particular in basketball and wrestling. Aside from mentoring thousands of youth, Weekley’s most significant accomplishment was hiring the first-ever African-American employee in the Club’s history. A leader well before his time, Weekley quietly began to eliminate a racial barrier in the City, supporting the Club’s mission as it truly became a safe haven for youth from all backgrounds. From program development to introducing a culture based on inclusion, Weekley’s success triggered a lifetime career as the Hamilton Boys Club Executive Director, where two youth centers are currently still named in his honor.
For more information on the Springfield Boys & Girls Club’s Alumni Hall of Fame event, contact Bevin Peters at (413) 785-5266 or firstname.lastname@example.org