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YMCA meeting a reminder of its importance to community

A long tenure is usually a good sign that somewhere is a good place to work, and a very good example of that is the Butler County Family YMCA.

In the Wednesday, May 15, edition of the Butler Eagle we learned about the annual meeting of the YMCA, where the organization honored its employees and volunteers and celebrated its successes.

During the meeting, David Hilliard, president and CEO, spoke about the milestones from 2023, including more than 17,000 people visiting its two locations and more than 100 volunteers putting in more than 1,600 hours.

Another figure worth noting is Hilliard’s time with the YMCA — he’s worked there for 30 years, starting out as an intern.

“Dave’s had about every position there is at the YMCA,” said Tony Shakely, chief volunteer officer. “He lives and breathes it. He loves the Y. It’s not just a job for him. It’s life.”

That attitude, shared by Michelle “Mickey” Stewart, group exercise coordinator at the Butler YMCA.

“If you got sick, if you ran out of gas, if something happened, we would get a message to Mickey and then she’d come. She would drop everything,” Sandra Ihlenfeld, the YMCA’s executive director, said during the meeting. “And even with all the time she’s covered us in 30 years, she’s still doing it.”

Hilliard and Stewart were both honored for their time with the YMCA, and their dedication is part of the reason the organization has been so successful.

The YMCA offers opportunities for learning, for exercise and for community to a truly wide range of people. Last year the people the Butler County YMCA served was expanded even more with the opening of the Early Child Learning Center at the Rose E. Schneider Family YMCA in Cranberry.

Last year the YMCA cared for nearly 1,300 children, Hilliard said.

It’s the dedication of employees like Hilliard and Stewart, as well as the work of dozens of volunteers, that make the classes and child care possible. It’s good to recognize the work they do, which does so much to benefit the community.

— JK

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