Gay Fathers Group Celebrates the Lives of Pioneering Family Lost in 9/11 attacks

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A group of gay fathers in Los Angeles is gathering on Sunday, September 11 to celebrate the lives and legacy of a family killed in the terrorist attacks ten years ago.

Co-founders of The Pop Luck Club, Ron Gamboa, Dan Brandhorst and their 3-year old son David.

Co-founders of The Pop Luck Club, Ron Gamboa, Dan Brandhorst and their 3-year old son David.

Dan and Ron were gay dads when there were very few of us out there.

Ronald Gamboa, Daniel Brandhorst and their three-year old son David were returning home to Los Angeles from a family trip to Boston when their plane, United Flight 175, was hijacked and flown into the South Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.

As newly adoptive parents in 1998, Ron and Dan joined with a handful of other gay fathers to create the Pop Luck Club, a non-profit organization with a mission to support gay fathers, prospective fathers and their children throughout the Los Angeles region.

“Dan and Ron were gay dads when there were very few of us out there,” says Ken Yood, who was President of the group in 2001. He continues, “We saw a need for a resource for other prospective dads… and the Pop Luck Club was born!”

“I am so proud of the father he became,” says Dan’s sister Dawn Rodgers of Jenison, MI. “Nothing was more important than his family… and Ron was the best brother-in-law anyone could hope for. Sweet, precious, David learned love and compassion from his Poppa and Daddy.”

Ronald’s sister Jeannie Merwin Gamboa of Anchorage, KY recalls “The Pop Luck Club was a labor of love for them. My brother was a true family man… a devoted father to David, partner to Dan, son, brother, uncle, and friend. They are always with us in heart and spirit.”

Rich Valenza, current Co-President, explains that Pop Luck Club families are built through foster care, adoption, surrogacy, and co-parenting. He says, "In our 13 year history, more than 800 gay fathers, and gay prospective fathers, have joined in our tradition of gathering for monthly pot luck meals and community playdates for our children."

“The Gamboa Brandhorst family’s legacy lives on in our memories, as well as in the Pop Luck Club programs they helped to create,” says West Hollywood Mayor John Duran, who will speak at the event. He continues, “We are grateful for their vision and commitment to our community.” The Family Remembrance takes place at 12:30 pm in the West Hollywood Park Auditorium at 647 San Vicente Blvd.

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John Ireland
Pop Luck Club
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