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‘It takes a village:’ Jefferson Co. Boys & Girls Club shows gratitude as dreams come true

The Journal

As members of the Jefferson County chapter of the Sorry Souls Motorcycle Club, employees and associates of the Boys and Girls Club, representatives of local businesses and U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney and his staff gathered around, four words echoed throughout every speech, every conversation: It takes a village.

The ribbon cutting served a true example of those words as Jefferson County Sorry Souls president Mike Skubon mentioned how many agencies and businesses came together to make the newly renovated kitchen come to life.

“It takes an idea, but it takes hands, it takes people, it takes time,” he said. “None of this was easy. It took a village. It takes a village to raise a child; that’s an African proverb. That means an entire community of people must interact with children to have a safe and healthy environment to grow up in. I hope, in some way, the Sorry Souls interacted in that way with this community of Jefferson County to be a part of raising these children. I hope this county is happy to have us here, and I hope we’re going to become long-term good stewards in this county. I hope when you see us around you appreciate us, that we’re acting properly. We will give you a different idea than what you see on some of these TV shows because this is what we do. This is us.”

He thanked 84 Lumber, Longshots Bar and Grill, Glory Days of Ranson, MR Stone, the Charles Town Moose Lodge, DrivePros and all the beer distributors, restaurants and liquor stores who donated in one capacity or another. During a pandemic when many were hurting, Skubon said as the Sorry Souls began soliciting donations both for a fundraising event as well as for the kitchen itself, almost everyone gave, understanding the need in the community and the weight it held.

“I know you all didn’t believe us,” Skubon laughed. “Initially, they didn’t believe us that we’d do it.”

Local Boys and Girls Club CEO Stacie Rohn admitted earlier in the day, the club is often met by good wishes and intentions, ones that sometimes don’t always come to life.

“We don’t always experience that,” Rohn said. “We always receive the generosity of people in spirit and intention, but sometimes, it’s not always possible to make grand plans and see them through to fruition. They made a grand plan, and we were like, ‘We’ll open the club. We’ll be here to support you.’ But they did it. They made it happen. That was so special.”

As late 2020 hit and the Jefferson County Sorry Souls were tasked with starting their own branch, forming a new subsidiary of Sorry Souls in the county that was initial part of a large Berkeley County group, Skubon reached out to the Boys and Girls Club and Jefferson County Community Ministries, helping both however the club could. At that time, the Boys and Girls Club was in need of kitchen help as the waiver it was operating under to allow employees to cook and distribute thousands of weekly meals was rescinded. After expanding meal services to the siblings of the youth served, the club is up to 130,00 meals served.

“It was becoming difficult,” Rohn said. “Some of the cabinetry, we didn’t dream big. The kitchen needed some love. Our expectation was they would put covers on the fronts of the cabinets that were already here and just spruce them up. But that was not what happened at al. What happened is beautiful result of a lot of people who care.

“I’m speechless because it’s an opportunity for us. It’s a better work space. It’s nice and new and clean. We keep our kitchen clean, but you do the best you can with what you have. But now we can do the best we can because we have.”

The Sorry Souls never doing anything just halfway, Skubon said he knew from experience it would be an $8,000 project at minimum, one that would never be the beautiful facility it is today with the help of all those agencies and individuals who were there to be part of the village.

“They just wanted to get the approval to operate back,” Skubon said. “Said, ‘No problem, but we’re going to get you a new kitchen.’

“It takes a village to raise a child. We want to be a part of something bigger, not just our club. We want to be part of the county. We want to make the county a better place.”

Rohn thanked the Sorry Souls with deep appreciate for everything they’ve done throughout the last year, services that reached beyond the kitchen project alone, club members delivering meals and making toy donations and every act of kindness in between.

“It’s so beautiful,” she said. “What a blessing that the Sorry Souls Motorcycle Club has really been to the club. It hasn’t been just the kitchen. This has been a labor of love for quite a while. We’ve been feeing our families now for well over a year now. We’ve tried to navigate COVID. We’ve had a couple calls where we’ve had to close our program, our feeding program down. Scoob came in and said, ‘We’re not going to let that happen. We’ll take food out. We’ll make sure your families aren’t missing out on Thanksgiving meals.’ We had one closure during Thanksgiving. Their club joined in together and said, ‘We’ve got this for you. We’ll help you.’ It’s been a blessing not only to us but our families.”

Touring the new kitchen and meeting with members of both the Boys and Girls Club as well as the Sorry Souls, U.S. Rep. Mooney called it an honor and privilege to represent and serve the residents of Jefferson County, the sheer acts of good that went into the project resonating with him.

“The government can’t love. That’s people,” Mooney said. “A legislation or dollar can’t do that. People can do that. What you do with Sorry Souls, coming in here and volunteering your time, interacting with the children, what other people do, that is crucial. Nothing would succeed without that. I’m thankful for what you do.

“I see the blessings we have in this state, the beautiful land and people, but I also see we have struggles. Not everyone is blessed to have a mother and feather at home with them. Some of them need help they’re not getting from their home structure. The Boys and Girls Clubs provide that.”