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Pennington talks community at event

Mar. 15, 2013 @ 11:26 PM

HUNTINGTON -- It's proven difficult to keep Chad Pennington away from Huntington.

Whether it's for work with his 1st and 10 Foundation or for Friday night's Boys and Girls Clubs of Huntington Fundraising Dinner at the Pullman Plaza Hotel, the former NFL and Marshall University football standout said he rarely runs into a reason that prevents him from returning to the Tri-State.

"Living in this area and going to Marshall, I met some great people and made some great friends," said Pennington. "I do feel a sense of obligation to come back, but I always want to come back to see friends and some family and support the Tri-State in any way I can."

That was the case during Friday's dinner, when more than 200 people came out to raise money for the city's three Boys and Girls Clubs.

Pennington filled in for former Marshall running back and West Virginia native Ahmad Bradshaw, who originally was scheduled to speak at the event but was unable to travel following foot surgery, said Joe Anderson, president of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Huntington.

Huntington's clubs serve more than 1,100 children each year through afterschool and summer programs, which include a basketball league and the Optimist Club Porgram, said Anderson.

"We are here to cater to the children's academic needs and their extracurricular needs even when they aren't in school," said Anderson. "Many of our kids come from single-parent homes or they are living with relatives who work and aren't able to pick them up after school. It gives the kids the chance to get some of the attention they need in those areas that they might not have access to otherwise."

The first Boys and Girls Club to open was along Adams Avenue in 1958, and that club was moved to West 14th Street in 1959. The next two clubs followed along in Guyandotte in 1970 and in Westmoreland in 2001.

Pennington said it was important for community members to provide support to the clubs in any way possible.

"This is something that happens across the U.S. in all our states, cities and our own communities where there are kids who don't have that kind of support in their lives after school in their academic and extracurricular activities," said Pennington. "Sometimes people take for granted how important it is for these children to have those opportunities, and that is where the Boys and Girls Club steps in."

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