BC, BBQ and Being a Good Citizen

There’s something very Savannah about being a “BC boy.” There’s also something very Savannah about eating BBQ (lamb) at Johnny Harris. There’s also something very Savannah about taking the time to be a good citizen.


Fifteen people gathered for lunch in the dining room at the Johnny Harris restaurant a couple of weeks ago. This has become a tradition among three guys who all grew up here and were all “BC boys” together.


B.J. Lowenthal, Chris (Pig) Phillips and Pat Fogarty came through Benedictine in the early 1980s. Each went his own way work wise. B.J. is now a restaurateur with Donaldson Enterprises, Pat is in insurance at MassMutual and Chris is a law partner with Hunter Maclean. These three guys reach out to old friends and current business associates in November of each year and invite them to a “listen, learn and leave a check for $100” luncheon on our behalf.


Here’s why… B.J. has been a citizen advocate since 1989. We introduced him to a man named Bill who was close to his own age who had no family and a long way to go in life. B.J. comes from a rip-roaring big Catholic family. We thought it would be important for Bill to have the chance to see what that looks like. We also thought that B.J. could use the connections he has in the larger Catholic community, which feels like family here in Savannah, to good stead. That turned out to be true. A couple of the first jobs Bill got were with B.C. boys that B.J. went to school with. Flash forward 24 years and Bill now works for B.J. at Donaldson Enterprises and is known as the “union rep” among the warehouse crew.


Chris Philips was asked to meet a 20-something man named Randy who had found his way into the Chatham County jail. Chris helped Randy find his way out of jail, and over the past 20 years Chris has helped Randy out of some tough situations and to find his way into some good work. Another tradition happens at Chris’s office when Randy drops by to visit. Chris stops what he’s doing and they go to the break room and get Dr. Peppers to lubricate the conversation about work, family and the future.


Pat Fogarty has been a financial supporter of citizen advocacy for years and keeps his eye out for other folks who can become allies and advocates.


These three guys – B.J. Chris, and Pat – have known each other since, and maybe even before being “BC boys.” Maybe it’s that deep knowing each other that have allowed B.J. and Chris to find a way to be in these long citizen advocacy relationships with two men, both with little family and a long way to go in life.


Pat Fogarty’s comment to B.J. and Chris as we finished up lunch was: “You guys have done a good thing.”


Nuff said. BC Boys, BBQ and being a good citizen…

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