CELEBRATE – 2021 HOF Inductees

On October 30, 2021 the Neighborhood Boys ad Girls Club will celebrate its 90th Anniversary and induct seven new members into the Hall of Fame. The event will be held at the White Eagle Event and Convention Center in Niles, Illinois. Be sure to save the date. Look for event details on NBGC’s website, social media posts, emails and other sources.

Tickets to the 90th Anniversary and Hall of Fame Celebration are on sale now and can be purchased online at:

This blog post celebrates the 2021 inductees.

Enjoy the memories… and more importantly, make plans with your family and friends to join teammates for a wonderful night to celebrate the NBGC!

Tom Boettjer

Tom joined the Club in the late 70’s as a member of the Pirates. He was a Leader and a staff member throughout the 80’s. . . while also attending Gordon and Northeastern Illinois University. Concurrent with being a Leader and on the staff, he coached younger NBC teams which would lead him into his career as an elementary physical education teacher at Cleveland Elementary, and high school coach at Roosevelt. Tom worked with the NBGC tutoring program in the 1990’s. He also loved volunteering at NBGC Track Meets, Haunted Houses and Family Fests. With his wife Margaret, he ran first aid classes at the Club in the early 1990’s. Tom was one of the inaugural winners of college scholarship funds from 1984 – 1988. He has served for many years on the Scholarship Committee- interviewing candidates, reviewing application materials and selecting awardees. Tom is a regular donor to the NBGC and the Leaders of the Future (past winners) Scholarship.

Phil Cline

Phil was a member of the Tarantulas in the 1960’s, and, when he turned 13, became a youth leader. While in high school, Phil was a batboy for the Chicago Cubs. He was always interested in sports and loved arranging games between friends. After high school, he formed a softball team called the Rowdies- some of whom were NBC alumni. He followed his father, a Chicago Firefighter, into a life devoted to public service. After becoming a Police Cadet in 1968, Phil worked his way up the ranks on his own initiative, finally becoming Chicago Police Superintendent. Phil also started the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, which cares for the families of wounded or killed Chicago Police Officers. He was a guest speaker at one of the Leaders of the Future Celebrations, and has been an annual donor for twenty plus years.

Maria Gomez

Maria has called the NBGC home since before her time as a leader, starting in 1997. She remembers her baby brother becoming a part of the NBGC family when he started playing tackle football in second grade- she had no idea it would also become her family one day. Maria started with summer camp, then sports, eventually becoming a Leader. At the time she didn’t realize the impact the Club would have on her. Initially, Maria had no clue what responsibilities went with the job- “So it was no surprise that I was let go from the Leader program because I didn’t take it seriously!” It was right then and there Maria was staring reality in the face- not only had she let herself down, but also those at the Club who were counting on her. From that day she decided if she dedicated herself to something, she had better mean it. This experience allowed her to build the work ethic which has garnered her so much success in life. “I dedicated myself to the NBGC, and realized we stood for so much more than our selves. Once that moment of enlightenment came, I was provided with so many opportunities for growth. Bonnie and Jim continued to push me out of my comfort zone and never fell short of letting me know that they believed in my abilities to succeed . Whether it was their trust in me, or the fear of letting them down, I was able to always push forward, and I remember I always wanted to play a part in an very successful organization. Along the way I had so many mentors and peers who also shaped how I embraced being a part of this family. Family is what drove us. This amazing family dynamic that comes with the job is what has driven me to dedicate the time that I have to the NBGC. That dynamic is also the reason why it made my decision to walk away a difficult one. I always knew that there would be a day where I would look to further expand on the foundation that the NBGC has helped me build- I just never knew when. I know there will never be another experience like that of the NBGC. But I know that we work towards ‘Better Men and Women’, and I take that with me.”

Phil Jensen

Phil’s long involvement with the NBGC started in the 1990’s as a Pirate playing in all sports. He went on to become a Leader, then all the way to Athletic Director. Phil was once known as the “Pebble Princess” running the Pebble League soon after the Girls Program began. He was in charge of the leadership training programs for years, and led many of the outdoor wilderness group trips. Phil always played an essential role in the annual Family Fest, as he worked tirelessly to coordinate the set-up, daily operations and wrap up for the Club’s most important yearly fund raising event. Throughout high school and college Phil was able to take advantage of the NBGC Scholarship Program. And while teaching for CPS and continuing his involvement in youth development, he went on to earn a Master’s Degree. Over the years he has donated to the Scholarship Program and helped out with the candidate interviews.

Jack Leske

Jack joined the NBC in 1938 playing for the Ravens. Being very goal-driven, he achieved medals in chess and checkers, and was tops in attendance over the years. Jack was the third recipient of the White Star Award ring for all-around excellence. He became a Youth Leader in the 1940’s, and especially enjoyed the Leader trips to White Pines State Park. His involvement in sports and physical fitness at the NBC, combined the the values of sportsmanship he learned here, led to a career with the Niles Baseball League and 17 years as a Commissioner with the Niles Park District- ensuring that other youth could benefit from the experiences he had at the Club. He was a dedicated company man, inventor, entrepreneur, tomato grower and family man. Well into his 80’s, Jack was an avid walker and cyclist (2500 miles/year)- and could do a 1-minute plank until he was 89. He was an annual contributor, and is in the Buehler Legacy Society. Jack was known as one of life’s “good guys”, and passed away in September, 2018- one day after his 90th birthday.

Joe Miceli

Joe played on the Leopards in the 1970’s. He went on to become a Youth Leader and Secretary of the NBC Bowling League. Joe was instrumental in the formation of the NBC band- which entertained at Mom’s Club Socials and pep rallies. Composed mostly of NBC alums, the band evolved into the Chicago Continentals, continuing to play at football games, dinner dances and weddings for over 40 years. Joe was the organizer of a Leaders and friends Friday night football game, played from September through Thanksgiving. Joe served on the Board of Directors, was Co-Chairman of the Family Fest for several years, and helped his good friend Arp Horvath man the Ham & Bacon Booth. And Joe has been an annual donor for many years.

Jack Sharkey

Jack started his 65-year affiliation with the NBC/NBGC in the 1950’s playing for the Falcons. He continues to serve the Club as an annual contributor. For more than a decade, Jack has organized a group of alums from his NBC era who contribute the donuts each year for the Thanksgiving Day football and soccer games. After graduating from Gordon Tech High School, he married his grammar school sweetheart, Geraldine- and they have been married for 55 years! They raised four boys and have ten grandchildren. During his business career, Jack owned two successful businesses- Gerlin, and Precision Stamping Products, in Schiller Park (which he still operates today). As a businessman, they said he could “sell snow to an Eskimo”. Respected by all who know him, his friends and family will tell you there is no one else more generous with his time. Jack treasures his decades of involvement with the NBGC.