Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. Honored

Children at the Harlingen Boys and Girls Club said they go to the club to play and do (their) homework and have a good time- hang out with (their) friends."

With smiling faces they greeted Senator Eddie Lucio Jr. on Saturday to honor him with the "A Great Texan" award for the work he does to improve children's lives.

Boys and Girls Club Executive Director Gerald Gathright said Lucio has been instrumental in securing federal programs for children in need.

"His efforts in the legislature have helped ensure that that funding continues and expands, Gathright said. And also his many personal contributions."

Humbled by such a warm and unexpected welcome by the youngsters, Senator Eddie Lucio took time to shake hands and even take pictures with them. Lucio said he was impressed by the children's discipline and the vision and leadership at the club.

"The environment that you live in, or the environment that you work in, or the environment that you play in is very important, Lucio said. The infrastructure here the facility, what is available here for our children in the Harlingen area is just out of sight- it's just fantastic."

Gathright said there are about 7,000 children that participate in the activities offered at the club, which range from sports leagues to tutoring.

"The magic of the Boys and Girls Club is that there is no magic, Gathright said. What it is, is being there day in and day out - a place for kids to go everyday after school, all day long during the summer. Things are different everyday at a Boys and Girls Club."

Senator Lucio said he encourages children to visit their local Boys and Girls Clubs because this will help keep them active and combat childhood obesity and juvenile delinquency.