Connie Meintasis and her husband Nick made a living by providing the community with the materials and tools needed to keep houses in good repair.
They were the owners of the Manteca True Value Hardware from 1970 to 2001 that was located on the northwest corner of North and Main streets in the building where Domino’s Pizza is today.
Besides making it possible for customers to keep their houses in shape, Connie also played an instrumental role in helping thousands of Manteca kids grow up by making sure they had a second home they could count on to provide a positive and nurturing environment.
Connie was not only a founding member of the Manteca Boys & Girls Club in 1980 but she also devoted 40 years of her life making sure the doors stayed open so that the non-profit could make a difference in the lives of kids.
Connie along with Jack Snyder— two of the founding members of the Manteca Boys & Girls Club — were honored Wednesday with plaques noting their service that will be displayed at the club.
The ceremonies recognizing Meintasis, who passed away Aug. 21, 2020 and Snyder who died this year, took place during a Manteca Chamber of Commerce coffee on the Walk to the Future in front of the club at 545 W. Alameda Street that sits in a corner of Babette and Charlie Giles Memorial Park.
The occasion was also used to open a time capsule buried in 1996 as part of the walk that carries the names of individuals, businesses, and organizations that made sizable donations over the years to the club’s operating budget.
And while issues with properly sealing the capsule ruined almost everything completely except for a club T-shirt of the era and the Sept. 17, 1996 edition of the Manteca Bulletin announcing the Manteca Unified board decision that would give East Union High its own football stadium, many of the young lives they touched were prevented from having ruinous outcomes.
Among them were two young brothers that were club members during Chuck Crutchfield’s 14-year tenure as executive director of the local club.
Crutchfield recalled how he was making the rounds of Manteca schools to find youth who would benefit from membership.
He dropped by the office of Bill Jones, who at the time was principal of Manteca High and a member of the Boys & Girls Club’s original board.
Jones opened a desk drawer and pulled out numerous gang paraphernalia. He asked Crutchfield to talk to the student he took the items from.
Crutchfield went to the teen’s house. The teen, in no uncertain terms, told Crutchfield he was never going to the club.
A year later the teen showed up at the club with his two younger brothers in tow. He wanted his brothers to start going to the club to avoid going down the path that led to him becoming a gang member.
It was just one example of many Crutchfield as well as current executive director Jeannie Miller can cite of where club membership and attendance has helped change the life of youth.
The teen also promised that is any gang issues came up related to the club’s property, to give him a call.
The club was hit by graffiti three times. Each time Crutchfield contacted the teen about it, he not only came up with the names of the responsible parties but also had them paint over the graffiti.
The two younger brothers went on to become the first in their family to go to college and are enjoying success. Their older brother eventually joined an apprenticeship program to learn a trade and has left the gang life behind.
Meintasis — along with Snyder, Willie Weatherford, and Joe Freitas — went door-to-door to build community support for opening a Boys & Girls Club.
Weatherford, who was a police sergeant at the time and Snyder who was on the city council — saw it as a way to reduce juvenile crime by providing another alternative.
During that effort Antone Raymus donated $100,000 to provide funding to build the current clubhouse while Don Stewart got the carpenters’ union to supply the labor.
Snyder ended up serving 25 years on the City Council — the longest of anyone in Manteca’s 104-year history — including 8 years of mayor. He served for more than 20 years on the board before moving to the club’s board of trustees.
Crutchfield noted that Snyder told him if there was ever anything a kid needed such as clothing to let him know and he’d take care of it.
“He always did,” Crutchfield said.
Meintasis was the longest serving member on the board. She started with its official founding in 1980 and was an active member until her passing 40 years later.
She was also a highly active and productive member of Manteca Soroptimist serving in all offices including president in 1972-1973. She served Soroptimist Salvation Army food voucher program for seven years from 1974-1981.
She also co-chaired The Manteca Fourth of July parade committee from 1985-1987.
Meintasis was Boys & Girls club president 1985-1986.
The club’s annual Calling for Kids campaign starts Nov. 6 seeking pledges to support the efforts of the non-profit.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org