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Russ Ingram talks to children from the Salem Boys and Girls Club following a ceremony honoring him and his late wife Bobbi. (ADAM SWIFT)

Longtime supporters of Salem Boys and Girls Club honored with plaque

SALEM — For decades, Russ Ingram and his wife, Bobbi, gave untold time, energy and money to a number of causes and organizations in Salem, including the Salem Boys and Girls Club.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Boys and Girls Club gave back to the Ingrams with the unveiling of a bronze plaque on a rock in a memorial garden in front of the club.

Ingram was on hand with several family members at a ceremony that honored him and his wife, who passed away in 2010.

“This beautiful garden is a testament to the love the community feels for the Ingrams,” said club director of development Denise Dolloff.

In the past year, Ingram donated $140,000 to the club, and according to Dolloff, that figure over the past decade tops $250,000.

Boys and Girls Club board president Patrick Donovan said that spirit of giving has been felt by more than just his organization.

“Russ has really donated his time, energy, and generosity to every path in life,” said Donovan. A decorated World War II veteran, Donovan said Ingram also donated to major projects including the building of churches and fire stations when he lived in the North Country.

About a year ago, Donovan said he and the club’s chief procurement officer, Michael Centor, approached Ingram to tell him that no individual had donated more to the organization and that they wanted to honor him in some way.

“When we pointed out that he was our best contributor ever, he gave us more money to pay down the debt on our building,” said Donovan. “He has worked tirelessly for this club for many years, and he is one of the many rocks this club is built upon.”

State senate president Chuck Morse presented Ingram with a resolution from the senate, as well as a personal letter thanking him for his years of generosity and hard work.

Although Ingram has given to a number of causes, Morse said his greatest pride has always been his work in helping children through the Salem Boys and Girls Club.

Ingram said he was very pleased with the unveiling of the memorial plaque and the garden.

“It’s wonderful,” he said. “Beautiful.”

While many people wanted to talk to Ingram following the ceremony, he gave the most time greeting and talking to a long line of children from the club who walked by to shake his hand.

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