When Debra Amos-Terrell and William “Will” Antipuesto picked up the microphone to kick off the first annual Run for Good on April 18, they held the memory of Fairfield City Councilman Matt Garcia in their hearts. They had met the young councilman in a Fairfield Chamber of Commerce “Leadership Today” program where, together with the chief of police, they championed to raise funds for the Police Activities League.
Then came the shocking, unfortunate incident last September 2, when Matt was shot and later died at a Walnut Creek hospital. His death was a case of mistaken identity as he stood outside a friend’s Fairfield home.
Debra, director of critical care services for NorthBay Healthcare, and Will, a physician IT educator, are now committed to the Fairfield Police Activities League (FPAL), housed in the Matt Garcia Youth Center. All proceeds from the run benefitted the center.
“After Matt’s death we were committed to do whatever we could to make the program a success to honor both his memory and his vision,” Debra says.
Will, a computer expert, created the FPAL web site and chairs the public relations committee. Debra is secretary for the FPAL executive board.
The Fairfield PAL Matt Garcia Youth Center reaches out to underserved kids in the city and provides safe, healthy activities, which promote teamwork, personal responsibility, self-confidence, exercise and healthy living. The youth center is a collaboration between volunteers, the city and the local police.
“Matt wanted all youth to have an outlet. He felt there was nothing for teens to do in Fairfield and he wanted to show that you didn’t have to leave town to have fun,” Will says.
Located in the old 24-Hour Fitness building on the corner of Travis Boulevard and Texas Street, the center was able to retain the chain’s basketball courts. While it also has a boxing ring, it’s not all about sports. The center offers school tutors and classes to help kids pass their high school exit exams.
“By supporting this center, we’re providing a positive outlet for local kids. I’ve always wanted to serve my community and now I have that option,” says Debra, who lives in Suisun. “It’s important to me and my husband to raise our son with an understanding of community participation and giving back.”
“I have a vested interest in Fairfield because I plan to lay my roots here,” adds Will. “Matt Garcia believed that one person could make a difference and that everyone has a gift to contribute. I believe that, too.”
The Matt Garcia Youth Center
The Matt Garcia Youth Center welcomes teens from 7th- to 12th-grade. Membership, open to boys and girls, is $10, but scholarships are available. Three adults are present at all times, including volunteers and off-duty police officers.
Wednesday, 2:30 to 9 p.m.
Friday and Saturday,
2:30 to 11 p.m.
For more information, please call (707) 422-MATT (6288), or visit the web site: www.fairfield-pal.org. The center is also on MySpace and Facebook.
Run For Good Scores a Victory
A red wave of generosity swept through the streets of Fairfield April 18.
It was the 200-plus NorthBay Healthcare runners clad in bright red Heart & Vascular Center shirts participating in the city’s first-ever Run for Good 5K.
The race attracted 800 runners in all, and helped raise $25,000 for the Matt Garcia Youth Center and Fairfield Police Activities League.
Two high-profile NorthBay participants were Debra Amos-Terrell and Will Antipuesto, both Police Activities League board members. Debra, director of critical care services, is the executive board’s secretary, and Will, a physician IT educator, created the FPAL web site and chairs the public relations committee.
“We were eager to be the presenting sponsor,” Debra told a crowd that gathered in the grassy area across the street from the new Solano County Government Center. “This is the perfect partnership for us – a heart-healthy activity that stresses community and environment and goes to support a great program.”
By The Numbers
Dollars raised for the Matt Garcia Youth Center and Fairfield Police Activities League
Number of runners in the race
Number of NorthBay Healthcare runners
Number of days it took to plan the event
Number of sponsors
Number of NorthBay employees or family members who earned racing awards
Length of race through downtown Fairfield
Length of a 5K race in miles