DENVER — There was a very special guest on hand at the unveiling of the Broncos Boys & Girls Club's renovated outdoor space Tuesday. It wasn't Trevor Siemian or Brandon Marshall, though they and a few other Broncos did attend the event.
It was Marine Corps Cpl. Hector Bojorquez, a former member of the club. If there was anyone there who could attest to the club's importance and impact, it was him.
"Without the Boys & Girls Club, honestly, being a kid, I don't know what I would have been or become as a man or as a person in the community of Denver," Bojorquez said. "It's helped me out through my journey in life."
He couldn't pass up the opportunity to help celebrate the club as they re-opened the outdoor space with a redone basketball court and new amenities to make the area more enjoyable. As part of their Community Possible Month of Play, U.S. Bank invested $50,000 into the club for the space.
The Broncos' relationship with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver expanded to a new level in 2003 with the help of Owner Pat Bowlen when they opened the Denver Broncos Boys & Girls Club. In 2008, the club grew with the Darrent Williams Teen Center, named for the former Broncos cornerback who was killed in a drive-by shooting a year earlier.
The community's devotion to supporting the club and its upkeep has been a testament to Bowlen's and Williams' legacies in the community, and Tuesday's refurbished play area reinforced that.
"I think the Broncos — and especially under Pat Bowlen — have always been committed to doing great things, not just in the stadium in football but in the community we live in," Broncos Chief Commercial Officer Mac Freeman said. "And back in '03 when we started talking about this and decided to move forward, it was really Pat driving it and he saw this as one of the most impactful things we could do as an organization, to come to a neighborhood where there weren't a whole lot of great opportunities for the kids to have safe places to play and to learn and to be kids. … And when you look at it today and what's happened in 13 years, I think he's had great vision and everything we've hoped has been realized."
After the ceremony unveiling the new court, the club celebrated with Broncos players, U.S. Bank volunteers and club members. Siemian spent some time helping with the throwing contest, in which kids tried their best to throw a football through a swinging hula hoop from the three-point line on the court. Ring of Fame safety Steve Atwater helped out at the free-throw shooting competition. Safety Will Parks challenged kids to match him in footwork drills. Linebacker Corey Nelson and wide receiver Kalif Raymond painted a large sheet of paper with club members.
That's the vision Pat Bowlen had almost 15 years ago.
"Mr. Bowlen's always said, 'I want us to be number one in everything,'" said Patrick Smyth, Broncos Executive President of Public and Community Relations, "whether that's on the field or most importantly, whether that's off the field. And you can see this facility, the resources for the Denver Broncos Boys & Girls Club and the emphasis that everyone in our organization places in it, from our community relations staff, to our players, to our executives place on it. It starts with Mr. Bowlen, and it's great to see it carry on throughout everyone."