Vandals hit Citrus Center Boys & Girls Club again, this time for tens of thousands

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. - The Citrus Center Boys and Girls Club in eastern Polk County has been one of those local success stories, helping hundreds of kids become adults.

Walt Hall  -- who now runs the club -- is one of those kids.  He says it's been tough.  "We've been in a struggle just to make payroll this year."

Walt, who came here as a 17-year-old has spent the past 46 in Boys and Girls Clubs, but the past half year has been -- by far -- his most trying.  Especially after vandals struck again, pulling untold feet of of copper wire up and taking it from over by the power pedestals which get used heavily for the club's main fundraiser, the Smoke on the Water BBQ, which brings in tens of thousands of dollars every February.

"You know, we have a line of credit, we done borrowed that all up just to make payroll and pay the light bill. So when something like this comes along, it just kicks us in the teeth and makes things hard," said Hall.

Frank Csomos, who is not only an electrician, but also one of the driving forces of the February fundraiser here as a board member, showed us where the power poles used to be, and how damaged the stuff was that was left behind.
"Eight pages of notes of things that's damaged here and its quite extensive.  What I think, eight different pedestals out here and then we have the panels along the fence line and then all of the electric down along the lake is gone."

"That theft -- the second in six months out here, maybe netted the thieves couple hundred dollars in scrap wire, but it's going to cost tens of thousands of dollars to get this place back to normal."    

Board members are trying to stay positive, but the bottom line is that those repairs may or may not be covered by insurance, so now, an additional fund drive with a Citrus Center Boys and Girls Club Site Vandalism account at local Mid-Florida Credit Unions has started to help, to help the kids.

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