At Friday’s fundraiser for the Salesians Boys & Girls Club in memory of the club’s longtime mentor the late Wally Bowe, Bowe’s family received an unexpected surprise.
Bowe’s longtime friend Carlo Basile presented Bowe’s wife, Darlene, and daughters Janae and Jillian with a street sign that will be placed at the corner of Byron and Bennington Streets just outside the Salesians.
The corner will officially by renamed ‘Wally Bowe Corner’ by the City of Boston and the street sign will be a testament to the work Bowe did inside the Club–shaping the lives of Eastie’s youth during a career that spanned several decades.
“I’m proud to present this street sign to Darlene, Janae and Jillian,” said Basile to a room full of applause. “Wally was 14 years old when he started working at the Boys & Girls Club. He loved helping kids. It wasn’t about money. It wasn’t about prestige. I’ll remind everyone that in those days the club was open six days a week, Monday through Saturday and on the seventh day Wally would take a bunch of kids on his day off to a park or to Salisbury Beach in the summer. We can put up all the signs in the world for Wally but the real tribute to him is everyone in this room. We are the walking tribute to his work in the community.”
Those who knew Bowe best started the Wally Bowe fund several years ago after his untimely death in 2010 at the age of 53 years old. The Wally Bowe Fund not only keeps his memory alive, but also continues the good work he did every day as a coach, teacher and role model for local youth.
The fund, administered by his daughters Jillian and Janae, wife Darlene, and others in the community, provides support to the Salesians Boys & Girls Club, a non-profit organization that Bowe attended as a young man and where he worked for 25 years.
Jim Correale, who knew Bowe since becoming a ‘Club Kid’ at 13-years-old, remembered his friend and mentor last Friday night.
“When Wally and his family moved to East Boston they lived a few doors down from me on Chelsea Street,” said Correale. “But I didn’t get to know Wally until I ventured around the block to the Boys & Girls Club at 13-years-old. “There I saw that Wally, who was only a few years older than me, was clearly someone the other teenagers and the club’s staff had respect for. He worked hard and played by the rules. If you were kind to other people, unpretentious and if you were a good person Wally would go out of his way for you when you asked and even sometimes when you didn’t ask. I know all this first hand but I also know that I really don’t need to tell anybody in this room because you already know this (about Wally).”