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David Lara Sr. longtime supporter of youth athletics
SAN LUIS, Ariz. — Ernesto Prieto still remembers the day David Lara Sr. showed up to offer his support to the new youth boxing club that this city's Police Athletic League had just formed in 1999.
It would be an understatement to say that the fledgling club was on a financial shoestring in its early days, said Prieto, today a San Luis police officer and coordinator of the athletic league.
“He showed up and introduced himself,” Prieto called. “We had very little equipment, and he noticed that and he asked, ‘Is this all the equipment you have?' And then he gave us instructions to buy $1,500 in equipment in a sporting goods store in Yuma.”
Lara, a San Luis businessman who died Feb. 16, at age 70, served as a sponsor of the club, playing a key role in not only the growth of the boxing club but a citywide athletic league that today serves about 4,000 children and teens in the border city.
The club had been in existence for only a week or two when Lara showed up to buy the boxing equipment for young pugilists, Prieto said.
“It can be said that Mr. Lara adopted the kids of the club from the time that we started out in 1999 in the building that had been the Price Center” in San Luis, Prieto said.
After the club was told it could no longer use the Price Center, Prieto added, Lara came to the club's assistance.
“I can say that if it were not for him, the club wouldn't have continued, because for a time, he loaned us an area in the hotel that he had so that we could continue training.”
A native of Mexicali, Baja Calif., Lara had owned a grocery store and a bottled water distributorship in San Luis. He lived with his wife, Estela, in Yuma at the time of his death.
Two years ago, Lara was honored in a special ceremony held as part of a Police Athletic League boxing function at the San Luis Youth Center.
“We will always be very thankful to Mr. Lara,” said Prieto. “He set an example about the importance of contributing to the community, and he believed in the club as a way to keep young people motivated and far away from problems like gangs and addiction."