Rye YMCA Celebrates Community at Annual Dinner

[June 3, 2013]  Several local residents were honored for their commitment to volunteerism at the Rye YMCA’s Annual Dinner, held on May 30 at the Apawamis Club. Approximately 165 Y supporters gathered to celebrate the strong spirit of community that exists both within and outside the walls of the YMCA. After opening remarks from outgoing president Mark Doran, the Y’s gymnastics team kicked off the evening with a lively dance performance led by Dawn Halasz, affectionately known as Dawny Dew by hundreds of children.


In his remarks, Executive Director Gregg Howells spoke about the meaning of community, concluding “After thinking about community, after watching our staff and volunteers in action, and after hearing the voices of our members, I feel confident in saying that no other organization creates community and serves the community like the YMCA.” Howells noted that in 2012, the Rye Y award over $508,000 in financial assistance to hundreds of families and individuals in need, allowing children to attend camp, adults to maintain their memberships during hard times, and families to afford high quality child care.


The annual dinner also marked the changing of the guard as Mark Doran passed the gavel to Kevin Tice, the Y’s new president.  Before stepping down, Doran thanked outgoing board members Gene Lynch, Laura Kelleher, Dan Gallagher, Paul Nagle and retiring trustee Mike Moran for their service and welcomed new board members Evan Bernardi, Courtney Bennett, Michael Ice, Kate McIntosh, William Miller and Tavanner Rogers.


The evening was also an opportunity for the Y to celebrate the work of the past year.  In 2012, the Y continued its leadership in the area of chronic disease prevention through its YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program and LIVESTRONG at the YMCA.   In 2012, the Rye Y received a federal Community Transformation Grant and launched Healthier Port Chester, a community-wide collaboration to address healthy eating and physical activity standards in childcare settings, chronic disease prevention and health equity.  Within the coming weeks, the Y and its community partners will bring this initiative to Mamaroneck.

 winners-2013  lauren
Community Service Award Winner – Becky Ruegger, Gold Spirit Award Winners: Gail Fell, Christy Murphy and Bob Pearlman

Photos by JoAnn Cancro Photography

Woof Haneman Award winner Lauren Vita

The following awards were presented at the Annual Dinner:

Woof Haneman Award
Awarded to a Rye High School senior for his or her service to the community and the Rye Y.  Presented by Gregg Howells to Lauren Vita.

Lauren has served at the Rye Y as a counselor in training, camp counselor, member of the Teen Leaders Club and volunteer in the After School Adventures program.  Her volunteer efforts have also included the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Hunger Task Force and serving meals to homeless people.


Community Service Award
Awarded to an individual who has made a positive impact on the community.
Presented by Dinah Howland to Becky Ruegger.

Becky was recognized for making a positive difference at her church—Rye Presbyterian—where she co-founded the Stephen Ministry and in the community, where she helped establish the Early Childhood Network and volunteered with the Rye Youth Council.


Gold Spirit Awards
The Rye Y’s highest honor for volunteer service, this year’s awards went to three individuals.

Rye Y Trustee Tom Murphy presented the award to Gail Fell.  A former board member, Gail Fell served on several committees and co-authored the Respect Manual, a joint effort between local non-profits, teens, parents, merchants and police. She has been active in the Rye City Schools in both the PTO and Rye Education Fund.

Dinah Howland presented the award to Christy Murphy, who has been a force at the Y for years, including service on the board as a secretary. She also gives back to the community through her work with the Children’s Collective, a local grassroots organization focusing on under privileged children. Christy and Tom Murphy are only the third husband-wife team to have both won the Gold Spirit Award, Tom in 2003 and Christy in 2013.

Tom Murphy also presented the Gold Spirit Award to Bob Pearlman.  Bob is a past board member and currently serves as a trustee on the Investment Committee and the newly formed Endowment Advisory Council. He has been involved in several civic organizations including a workplace mentoring program for students.

For more information, please view the Rye YMCA’s annual report at www.ryeymca.org/ar.pdf.