Beverly and Roy Nethken, owners of the Ox Box Saloon, have donated a fully outfitted pool table to the Tonto Apache Tribe for its Youth Center.
The Nethkens bought the pool table and equipment from the American Legion, according to Jerry Holland, Tonto Apache controller. When it came time to have the pool table delivered, Holland said, the Nethkens decided to give it to the TAT for the youth center instead.
Holland said the pool table and equipment is worth about $750.
He said it was a very generous gift and wanted to make sure the Nethkens were acknowledged for their kindness.
Their contribution, and many others from people and businesses throughout the community have helped make the Youth Center so successful that the tribal council has given the go-ahead to build a new facility for the young people when the swimming pool is built, according to Jerry Gramm, social services director for the tribe. The new facility will be about 3,500 square feet.
For now, the young people are making good use of the old administration building. Gramm and others started remodeling the building in October and the Youth Center opened March 7.
"We wanted to have it open during spring break and there were a ton of kids in here every day," said Sheron Hunt, co-director of the center with B.J. Winchester.
In addition to the pool table from the Nethkens, it has another pool table, a ping pong table, air hockey, foosball, dart boards, a snack bar, a television room, a crafts room, computers and a library.
Expected to be arriving soon are bumper pool and shuffle board tables, plus there are lots of games.
The crafts room is so popular, the young people are producing enough projects to be invited to give demonstrations at the Heard Museum's Indian Market. Plus they plan to open their own gift shop to sell their work, Hunt said.
The work in the crafts room will be expanding to include painting and ceramics, with instruction by volunteers from the community, Holland said.
Holland hopes people will continue to donate to the Youth Center. He would like to see the youngsters have access to an old piano and maybe some guitars.
"I know there are a lot of kids who would be interested in music," he said.
"It has given focus and lots of opportunities to the kids. We want it to be more than a game room," Gramm said.