Ron Rust started working at the Alexandia Boys Club just 41 short years ago, and along the way he watched and mentored hundreds of boys to adulthood, and became an Alexandria institution. On Friday, many of those boys returned to honor Rust at the Alexandria-Olympic Boys and Girls Club on North Payne Street.
The Alexandria Times reported that when Rust started working at the Boys Club, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do for a living, but he had a family to feed. Before long he was the club’s social recreation director, and never left.
“Being there 41 years, you’re dealing with the first set of parents’ kids and later on you deal with those kids’ kids and so on and so forth,” according to Derrick Perkins’ fine story. “I couldn’t walk downtown or go to the mall before somebody was saying ‘Hey, Mr. Rust.’”
Among the many who hung out at the Boys Club was Keith Bogans, who went on to play college basketball at Kentucky and is now a member of the Chicago Bulls. Bogans recently returned to hold a basketball clinic at the club, the Times reported.
“This was our only place to go,” longtime member Carlos Martin told the Times. “We were here all day and every activity that went on, [Rust] was in charge of it. He’s seen me grow up from five to 45. The Boys Club shaped everybody.”