FLORENCE, S.C. – The accolades were all for William T. “Billy” Jarrell on Thursday night at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Pee Dee Area 2019 Champions For Youth Tribute honoring him as the 16th Champion for Youth recipient.

“We are here to honor a person who is totally committed to the Boys & Girls Club,” said George Brown, chairman of the board of the Boys & Girls Club.

Billy and Linda Jarrell

Billy and Linda Jarrell pose during the Boys & Girls Club Champions For Youth Tribute honoring Billy Jarrell. The event was held Thursday night.

Wanda James, mistress of ceremonies and member of the Boys & Girls Club Board of Directors, said Jarrell exemplifies what this award is about, the commitment to family church, children and community.

Some words used by friends and family to describe Jarrell were "creative," "passionate," "unpretentious," "cool," "unselfish," "committed," "caring," "humble" and "visionary."

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Billy Jarrell, left, and Tom Ewart, both recipients of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Pee Dee Champions For Youth Award, chat at Thursday night’s tribute to Jarrell.

Jarrell has spent years improving the lives of youth in the Pee Dee area, said one attendee.

“We have some kids who are gifted and talented and because of you they have hope,” said the Rev. Calvin Robinson of Trinity Baptist Church and a board member of the Boys & Girls Club.

“He is a very creative man, very entertaining and a very cool guy,” said Justin Newton, who works at the Florence site of the Boys & Girls Club.

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Bryanna Williams, 2019 Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year, spoke at the 2019 Champions For Youth Tribute honoring William T. ‘Billy’ Jarrell on Thursday night at the Waters building in downtown Florence on what the club means to her.

His daughter, Melissa, said he always says have a large day, not a good but a large day.

“As his daughter I have always known how involved he was in the community,” she said.

She said she is very proud of him.

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Members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. attended the 2019 Champions For Youth Tribute honoring William T. ‘Billy’ Jarrell on Thursday night at the Waters building in downtown Florence.

“ It makes you proud when you know your parent has given back so much,” she said.

“Billy and I go back years at the Boys & Girls Club,” said Tom Ewart, the 2018 Champion for Youth.

Ewart said Jarrell was an integral part of expanding the board of directors and the growth of the club.

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William T. ‘Billy’ Jarrell, 2019 Champion For Youth recipient, listens as friends and family tell about his contributions to the community. Seated, left to right, are his daughter, Melissa, grandchildren Jacob, Sydney and Ayden, and his wife, Linda. Standing beside Jarrell is Patricia Singleton Parr, secretary of the Board of Directors of the Boys & Girls Club and chair of the Champion for Youth committee.

“I can’t say enough about Billy," Ewart said. “He is a very humble and caring man and supportive of the community is so many ways.”

In a video where friends and family talked about Jarrell, Chip Munn said Jarrell sees people not for what they are but what they can become.

Buddy Brand, 2016 Champion for Youth, presented the award to Jarrell. He said afterward that Jarrell is a “gentle giant” among those at the Boys & Girls Club.

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Buddy Brand, left, 2016 Champion For Youth of the Boys & Girls Club, presented Billy Jarrell with the 2019 award on Thursday night.

In accepting the award, Jarrell thanked everyone for their remarks and took time to acknowledge his aunt, Kathleen Baskin, who was in attendance and who just turned 101. He asked the group to sing happy birthday to her.

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Friends and family of William T. ‘Billy’ Jarrell attended the tribute in his honor Thursday night as the recipient of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Pee Dee Champions For Youth award. From left are Scott King, Sally King, and Jarrell’s daughter, Melissa, and grandchildren, Ayden, Sydney and Jacob.

Jarrell told the group how he came to be on the board at the encouragement of Frank Avent, the first recipient of the award.

“After Frank called I became a servant,” Jarrell said.

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