LeBron James' host Thursday night at the Greenwich Boys & Girls Club never quite made it into his famous guest's tax bracket or A-List status. Still, people who know Bob DeAngelo -- executive director of the club -- consider him a hero.
DeAngelo is a retired Navy fighter pilot who served on the USS Independence in the late 1970s. He was on station during the Iran hostage crisis, which never required a combat mission. After he left the military, he traveled the world for Texas Instruments, having achieved a master's degree in international business from George Mason University.
He ultimately decided he wanted to do something else and decided in the late 1990s to come home and lead the Boys & Girls club, which welcomes 350 young people every day. "A lot of the pressures they face are more acute," he told veteransadvantage.com, comparing current youths to his peers when he was growing up. "They are over stimulated by television and the Internet. Many of them are shuffled from one play place to another"
When he was young, he used to cross the railroad tracks in Greenwich to the club from the three-family apartment house in which his family lived. The club left an impression with him. "I learned to get along with others, to have respect for others," he told the website.
DeAngelo has a long record of helping charities, aside from his full-time work at the Boys & Girls Club. He also has a workout regimen that James would admire: He has competed in numerous ironman triathlons. Recently, he completed a cross-country fundraising bike ride from San Francisco to Greenwich (www.buddyupbikeride.net).
Long Islanders might have seen him riding in the Montauk Century bike ride to help Pat LaFontaine's Companions in Courage Foundation.