Former South Lake Tahoe Bartender Still Fighting the Fight

[Vallejo Times-Herald]

...“This club saved me,” he said

It’s been 20 years since Trujillo assumed leadership of the 917 Marin St. facility, escaping a dire situation as a South Lake Tahoe bartender.

“I almost killed myself drinking,” Trujillo said. “I would drink all my mistakes. And I made a lot of mistakes.”

Six years after pummeling his liver, Trujillo landed in Vallejo, starting a vending machine company. Two hip surgeries later, however, and he was forced to sell.

He didn’t know what he was going to do. He was 49.

“And the club landed in my lap,” Trujillo said.

Through thick and thin, he’s been at the helm ever since. Actually, there’s never really been a thick. The club — like the rest of the Vallejo PAL program — is financially troubled.

“It’s been real tough,” Trujillo said Wednesday afternoon. “It’s been a struggle. PAL doesn’t have any money and hasn’t been able to give me money for equipment.”

Just to send a boxer to a tournament, Trujillo has reached into his own pocket or called some devoted contributors.

It’s a bad situation and shouldn’t happen, said Ace Johnson, one of the dozen coaches at the club.

“Drew has been keeping a lot of these kids off the streets,” Johnson said. “I know it’s really hard for him and frustrating.”...