ALTON - The Alton Boys & Girls Club celebrated the end of their playground renovation project today, but the party didn’t stop there. The club also said goodbye to longtime Board Member Cas Sheppard as he prepares to retire.

Sheppard has served on the Boys & Girls Club board for 12 years, including two terms as president.

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“It’s going to be a huge loss for us, but we just really appreciate Cas and what he’s brought to our organization. So this is our way of showing him that we appreciate him and we thank him,” Al Womack, the Alton Boys & Girls Club executive director, said.

Womack and Sheppard have worked alongside each other for years. The Boys & Girls Club is a national organization that offers after-school and summer programs to kids and teens. The Alton chapter works with approximately 600 kids every year. Sheppard said he was inspired to join the Boys & Girls Club after he saw the work of Womack and others.

“I just remember how it was really kind of moving to see the effort and the concern and everything that those guys had for the kids,” Sheppard said. He added that the rest of the team does great work and that he expects them to have continued success.

Sheppard has led several projects over the years, including the club’s relocation. Alton’s Catholic Children’s Home once hosted the group, but as the club grew, Sheppard and his fellow board members began the search for a new home base. They eventually settled on the club’s current location at 2512 Amelia Street in Alton. Sheppard said these tangible changes are what he’s most proud of.

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Sheppard knows the Boys & Girls Club is a positive experience for all the kids it serves. But above all else, he hopes that it teaches them about their worth.

“As an individual, you mean something. It’s not always evident to kids that they can be an individual and have their own goals and aspirations,” Sheppard said. “I think that’s the best advice I could give them, that they do mean something and they do have a worth in this world.”

Sheppard is also retiring from his role as president at Sheppard, Morgan & Schwabb, Inc., a civil engineering and land surveying firm in Alton. The firm was founded in 1982 by Sheppard’s great-grandfather, and Sheppard began working there when he was still in high school. He has spent the last 42 years with the firm as a professional engineer.

Sheppard and his wife hope to travel after he retires. Their daughter is getting married in Wyoming, and they both look forward to visiting Yellowstone and spending more time together.

But while he’s excited about retirement, it’s clear that Sheppard is going to miss his work with the Boys & Girls Club.

“As you grow up, you don’t realize the impact that you can have on somebody,” Sheppard said. “You may not think you’re making an impression on anybody, but, son of a gun, a lot of the time that is what kids look for and look up to.”

The Alton chapter also honored Womack for his recent induction into the Boys & Girls Club Hall of Fame. You can read more about the Alton Boys & Girls Club, including how to get involved, on their website.

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