Ex-Coach Calls Plays That Save Area Teens: Festival Raises Cash for Gibbs' Group

Article excerpt

In the eyes of Gloria Hurny-Vivio, Hall of Fame Redskins coach Joe Gibbs is virtually a living saint, and not because of anything he did on the football field.

Just three years ago, the Manassas mom feared she was losing her drug-abusing son fast. Severely depressed, young Sam never attended classes and often took his anger out on the walls of his house.

Then Mrs. Hurny-Vivio, 47, got her son admitted to Youth for Tomorrow, a group home for at-risk teen-age boys started by Mr. Gibbs. Sam, now 18 years old, is a high school graduate stationed in Hawaii with the U.S. Navy.

"I know my son wouldn't be alive today if it wasn't for this program and the people who live here," Mrs. Hurny-Vivio said. "The anger is gone. The communication skills are there." Mrs. Hurny-Vivio's was just one success story to be found on the Youth for Tomorrow campus near Manassas yesterday at the annual open house and fund-raising festival.

For one day each of the past 14 years, Mr. Gibbs has treated area residents and businesses to live entertainment, children's activities, auctions and a buffet lunch, not to mention autographs.

In return, they chip in money - an estimated $400,000 at this year's event - for his program. Admission alone brought in $10 a person.

"It's vital because an organization of this magnitude requires a lot of money to operate," said former Redskins wide receiver Art Monk, this year's honorary chairman. "We worked together [for] 12 years. When [Mr. Gibbs] needs me to help him out like this, I try to make myself available."

Mr. Gibbs, who now heads his own NASCAR racing team, relies heavily on corporate sponsorship. Signs around the campus yesterday explained how a Lincoln-Mercury car dealership painted the main house, while the Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative helped pay for new light poles.

Officials dedicated one of the newest items yesterday, a $40,000 pavilion donated by Comstock Homes. The former coach hopes to expand with an educational and fitness facility and additional residential quarters.

The main house can accommodate 30 boys at a time; an annex home houses four; a new transition home houses eight. …