The late Steve McQueen, international film star and perhaps Boys Republic’s most famous graduate, revisited the campus often during his later career.

A recreation hall bearing his name was built largely through McQueen’s contributions to Boys Republic. He is shown here receiving the “Loyal Order of the Della Robbia” award, an acknowledgment for his continuing efforts on behalf of Boys Republic.

Boys Republic recently received the following correspondence from Kumonee Butler, a former student:

“I just thought it would be appropriate for me to write this letter expressing my gratitude to the entire Boys Republic program. I feel that the program is a stone-solid program that truly opens the eyes of those in need of support and love. I am a witness to that … In my quest to gain success, the tools that Boys Republic helped me to gain made living in this world a little easier.”

“I feel blessed that I was given the opportunity to be a student in the program, and there are times when I wonder where my life would be had I not accepted the invitation. I have gained so many friends, real friends, who care about my life, health and social status in my community. With that, I cannot thank you all enough.”

Kumonee graduated in 1994. He is a recipient of the distinguished Virginia Pease Hunt Scholarship. Now entirely self-supporting, Kumonee is employed as a shift leader in a group home for disadvantaged youth. He plans to attend Laney Community College to study psychology.

“It doesn’t matter how we start out. The fact is, we’re all capable of great achievement. I was a poor kid from a poor family who got no help or support when I was small. But I was lucky enough to go through Boys Republic and gain confidence, self-esteem and a strong work ethic.”

John Parker turned his life-long obsession with fast cars, motorcycles and bicycles — an obsession that landed him in Boys Republic in the late 1960’s — into Yeti Cycles, one of the leading makers of high-technology mountain racing bikes in the world.

He recently merged his company with Schwinn Bicycles and also serves on the Board of Directors of the National Off-Road Bicycling Association.