‘You were the father I never had’ A career of community support celebrated
Retired Boys & Girls Club of Bethlehem CEO Gary Martell was feted at a gathering held at the Northeast Bethlehem facility Oct. 12, as alumni, current members, family and friends gathered to celebrate his 42-year career with the organization.
Martell recalled his hiring as a bookkeeper and advancement into the top position. He had turned down another job opportunity deferring to a vision impaired candidate whom he felt needed the job more than he did. One of the interviewers also served on the, at that time, Boys Club of Bethlehem and invited Martell to apply for the bookkeeping job.
Dozens of Boys & Girls Club alumni attended, many crediting Martell for heading them in the right direction.with their lives, instead of them ending up in gangs and on the streets.
“There are no bad kids, there is bad behavior which we can fix, but there are no bad kids. So let’s give them the opportunity to grow up and be something special,” said Martell.
He was joined by his wife Barbara, and children Shawn, Ryan, Colleen, Erin, and Maureen. He has two granddaughters and a third grandchild on the way.
Representing Mayor Robert Donchez and city council member J. William Reynolds presented a proclamation saying, “Bethlehem is Bethlehem because of people like Gary Martell.” State representative Steve Samuelson also presented Martell with a House of Representatives citation.
Martell is a Philadelphia native who came to Bethlehem to attend Moravian College where he played football and captained the team. He is in the Moravian Hall of Fame and continues as an assistant coach of the football team at Moravian and also is an assistant baseball coach at Bethlehem Catholic HS.
In retirement he intends to take some time off and volunteer at the Boys & Girls Club.