By Amanda Roberge
Telegram & Gazette
LEOMINSTER — With a long corporate history of raising money for charity, last year Hannaford Supermarket Manager Dave DeJohn decided to use that commitment to local community to hold an event near and dear to his heart.
He grabbed his costume, transformed into his wrestling alter ego “Danger” and organized an event that ultimately raised $1,500 for the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster while providing a top-notch entertainment experience to the audience.
This year’s second annual Clash at the Club, which is part of the World of Hurt Wrestling network and will feature an opportunity to see live wrestling featuring former WWF World Tag Team Champion Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, will be a bigger and better version of that initial event, said Mr. DeJohn. This year’s event will take place at 7 p.m. May 3 at the club, 365 Lindell Ave.
Doors open at 6 p.m. and bell time is 7 p.m. Audiences can expect to be thrilled by three title matches, a table match and a World of Hurt Championship, and Mr. DeJohn promises that the evening will be a delight to kids of all ages.
He added that last year’s success was exciting, but even more meaningful was what that success meant to a very special place.
“When I first got involved with mentoring at the Boys and Girls Club, I was able to see how many kids’ lives are touched by their experiences there,” he said, adding that he hopes to make well over $5,000 for the club
The Twin City Plaza Hannaford will provide all concessions for the event, and Mr. DeJohn volunteers not only his time in planning but also takes a turn in the ring as one of the 14-plus wrestlers that convene to make the event spectacular.
According to BGCFL Resource Development Director Patricia Fields, more than 500 kids will benefit, ultimately, from events like Clash at the Club. With a heavy reliance on fundraising, the club is financially dependent on people like Mr. Dejohn and companies like Hannaford to find innovative ways of bringing programming to the club.
“People tend to think we are supported by the federal government,” she said, adding that the club receives a very small amount of government money. “But nothing could be farther from the truth. We rely heavily on fundraisers, private donations and grants.”
The club boasts countless exciting and educational programs available to area youth, with an emphasis on healthy lifestyles, career development and recreation.
But even more so, said Mr. DeJohn, the club provides a safe and supportive atmosphere for a demographic of youths who may not have the benefit of a two-parent family at their primary residence, giving them access to mentors and caring adults whose main passion is to offer guidance.
“The people who volunteer and work at the club are making a huge difference in these kids’ lives, and they are dedicated to setting them up for their futures,” he said. “It means a lot to me to be able to help out in any way I can.”
Tickets at $10 general admission and $20 front row can be purchased at Hannaford at Twin City Plaza, 827 Merriam Ave.; the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster; or online at ClashAtTheClub.com.
For more information, call (978) 534-8358 ext. 17, or visit ClashAtTheClub.com.