SAFFORD — The stars were shining Saturday night, as leaders from throughout the community gathered at the Branding Iron restaurant for the inaugural Denim & Diamonds Gala to support the Boys & Girls Club of the Gila Valley.

Officials said the generosity of the more than 80 people who attended the event exceeded the goal of raising $20,000 for the club, which provides a safe place for children to go after school, get help with homework and engage in community service projects.

“We feel that, for a first-time event, it was a success and hope to improve on that in the future with the help of our supporters from the community,” said Tracy Botkins, Boys & Girls Club board member and organizer of the event. “This event would not have been a success without the support of our local businesses and individuals who donated items. I personally want to say, ‘Thank you,’ to each and every one of them.”

Special guest was boxing referee Tony Weeks, of Las Vegas, who has officiated almost 800 bouts in his 25-year career. Guest speakers at the event were former club director Michael Gaines, Carrie Gilbert and the current club director Mick Ruiz

Title sponsors were Freeport-McMoRan and Rex/OBGYN, followed by III Counties Distributing and Desert Cross Veterinary. Other sponsors included Copper Hills Dental, IMM (Independent Mine Maintenance), CMI, Gila Valley Clinic, Paul David, Danny Smith, Scott Bennett, Kempton Chevrolet, Open Loop, La Paloma and Arizona Dodge.

Donations for raffle ticket and silent auction items came from Susan Decker, Durrty Design, Ginaveve’s/John and Jenny Howard, EA Glass, Kempton Chevrolet, Desert Cross Veterinary, Real Deals, Firing Pin, Copper Steer Steakhouse, American Mattress, Walmart, Big O Tire/Preston Alder, Miller Lite, Gila Outdoor, Mack Auto Supply, Toney Weeks Art, Thomas and Tabetha Aranda, Rebecca Ornelas, Brian Andrews and David Perkins.

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