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Colin Powell Visits Boys & Girls Club, Tells Youths To Pursue Their Dreams

STEVEN GOODE

September 10, 2009

HARTFORD - Former Secretary of State and retired four-star Gen. Colin Powell spoke to a packed house Wednesday, and that was before he headlined a motivational speaking tour at the XL Center in Hartford.

Prior to his speaking engagement downtown, Powell took a tour of the Boys & Girls Club on Sigourney Street and shared some of his life experiences with dozens of current and former club members.

Powell, a member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America board of governors who helped dedicate the Trinity College Boys & Girls Club in 1998, answered questions about a variety of subjects, from his childhood to military and political careers that included time spent in Vietnam, the State Department and the White House.

"I enjoyed them all," he said.

When asked why he joined the military, Powell said he wasn't sure what he wanted to be when he discovered an ROTC program on his college campus and knew he found his calling.

"It became my life's passion," said Powell, who encouraged his young audience to overcome adversity and pursue their dreams.

"He was inspirational," club member Dejane James, 12, said afterward. "He shows that you can be anything you want in life."

Powell's life story and visit also struck a chord with Hartford Fire Chief Charles Teale, who was a Boys Club member in the 1960s and '70s and was thrilled Wednesday to shake Powell's hand.

"I've always admired him and the way he relates to young people in the community," Teale said.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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