Members of the Bowlen family were on hand for the dedication. (Photos: Gabriel Christus)
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – It just made sense to name the brand new turf field at Suncor Boys & Girls Club after Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen.
In all his years as owner, there are few organizations on which Mr. Bowlen has made a bigger impact.
Since 2003, Mr. Bowlen and the Broncos have made vast contributions to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver.
In 2008, the Broncos helped open the Darrent Williams Memorial Teen Center at the Denver Broncos Boys & Girls Club. The team has also hosted PLAY 60 clinics and arranged player visits every season for Boys & Girls Clubs across the Denver region.
"In the past 14 years, since the relationship between Pat Bowlen and the Broncos and the Boys & Girls Club started, Mr. Bowlen has led a Super Bowl-winning team on the field and an incredible philanthropic crusade off the field," said Erin Porteous, the CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver. "He's helped thousands of Boys & Girls Club kids along the way."
Porteous helped lead the dedication of the newly unveiled Pat Bowlen Field in Commerce City, where kids are now able to play baseball, football and soccer courtesy of a new field and new equipment.
The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation joined with a number of other contributing sponsors to fund the nearly $1 million project.
Chuck Brady, the senior vice president of the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, said the organization partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver after it looked for communities where kids desperately needed safe places to play. The foundation has funded 50 fields of its kind and hopes to build 100 more by 2020.
Raymond, a 16-year-old Suncor club member, was one such kid who will feel the impact of Pat Bowlen Field.
"I'm really excited, because it's going to provide a lot of opportunities and especially open doors for new kids out here for the Commerce City community," Raymond said. "They're going to see us playing out here on the field and they're going to bring the kids off the streets and come here so they can see how much fun we're having."
Before members of the Suncor club posed for photos under the new scoreboard, Porteous asked for a round of applause for Bowlen in honor of "his tremendous commitment to providing opportunities for Boys & Girls Club kids."
For Annabel Bowlen, who sat in the front row with two of her children, that praise meant a great deal.
"Mr. Bowlen, really for the entire balance of his ownership of the team, has always put an emphasis on the Boys & Girls Club, in particular, along with giving back in the community," said Patrick Smyth, the Broncos' executive vice president of public and community relations. "Unfortunately, Mr. Bowlen can't be with us here celebrating today, but to have Mrs. Bowlen out there and members of her family made it more meaningful for our organization.
"I know she really wanted to be a part of this great day."