COEUR d'ALENE — About a dozen youths in black Boys and Girls Club T-shirts filed onto the stage in the Hagadone Event Center on Wednesday evening. Their smiles and grins lit up the room as they sweetly began to sing: “T-h-a-n-k y-o-u, we thank you Mr. and Mrs. Hagadone.”
Then 8-year-old Kaitlyn Miller stepped down from the stage and handed a bouquet of flowers to Lola Hagadone, a symbol of gratitude for the couple's $2 million contribution that has made a Coeur d’Alene campus for the Boys and Girls Club a reality.
“We all know it’s just so important,” Lola said tearfully. “The children are our future.”
"A Night of Celebration" was just that — a joyous occasion for those in the community who support the Boys and Girls Club to raise their glasses and commemorate the announcement of the new facility, which officially breaks ground at 11:30 a.m. today at Lakes Magnet Middle School. The evening included some tears but laughter as well as Duane Hagadone told the room of about 75 attendees the name of the new club.
“We’re going to call it the 'Lola and Duane Hagadone Boys and Girls Club,'” Duane announced.
“I’ve lived with him for 35 years; I want my name on a building,” Lola said to the laughter-filled crowd.
Lola explained that in the last month, she has visited local schools to meet with teachers and faculty and even participate in library programs and spend time with students. She said the community should be very proud of its teachers.
"They shared with me a lot of their stories about some of the children, and as you all know, that's so very heartbreaking,” she said. “Every time I went to a school, I would come home and say, 'Duane, thank you, thank you, thank you for doing this.'”
At the request of local businessman Ron Nilson, who led the club's capital campaign and serves on the board of governors, the Hagadones spent some time at the Boys and Girls Club in Post Falls. That's when they realized the great benefit the club provides to the children: A safe place to learn and grow while having fun.
"I had no idea what to expect. What an amazing eye-opener it was for me," Duane said. "I went around that room — I think they had maybe 250, 275 (children), at around 3:30 in the afternoon — and you know what? I did not see an unhappy child. Not one. There were smiles, they were working with children, cooking, children were working on projects, there were some working on schoolwork, others playing games, and it was just amazing. It was just unbelievable."
In May, the Hagadones met with the Boys and Girls Club board to inform the club they would donate $1 million in cash and as much as $1 million more as a challenge for the community to match. As of Wednesday evening, the club's supporters and benefactors had contributed $3,650,000 to cover 100 percent of construction costs, fixtures and necessities as well as an entire year's operating expenses.
“Just think of all those youngsters that today are not being properly taken care of,” Duane said. “They’ll all have a great opportunity to be taken care of. And it’s not only 400 or 500 kids for this year. This will go on year after year after year.”
Nilson said $50,000 or more was generously contributed by 20 people.
"We now service 1,500 kids," he said. "I was reading the newspaper this morning, it said that we rank No. 3 in the country for our charitable giving. That might be the case by the state, but I can guarantee you Kootenai County is No. 1 in the United States as a county in what we do for our community."
The new facility will be located on the grounds of Lakes Magnet Middle School, 930 N. 15th St., Coeur d'Alene. The public is invited to attend the groundbreaking.
JAKE PARRISH/Press Ryan Davis, Boys and Girls Club of Kootenai County executive director, gives his thanks on Wednesday at the Hagadone Event Center to the donors who raised funds to build a new Boys and Girls Club facility in Coeur d'Alene.
Lola Hagadone laughs as she listens to her husband, Duane, speak on Wednesday at a celebration ceremony for the Boys and Girls Club of Kootenai County meeting its goal of raising $3.65 million to build a new facility in Coeur d'Alene, which will be located on the same grounds as Lakes Middle School. The Hagadones donated $2 million to the fundraiser.
JAKE PARRISH/Press Local businessman Ron Nilson, who also serves on the board of governors for the Boys and Girls Club of Kootenai County, speaks on Wednesday at the Hagadone Event Center on what went in to raising the $3.65 million needed to build a new Boys and Girls Club facility in Coeur d'Alene.