By JEN CARDINES
People of all ages gathered for a multi-generational night during Forever Young.
Young children took the stage to lead the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. A mother-daughter duet stirred the crowd with their rendition of “Forever Young,” and a former YMCA executive director returned for a standing ovation.
Hundreds came out to the Southington-Cheshire Community YMCA’s 88th annual dinner at the Aqua Turf on Feb. 1. Awards and honors were given to special guests, and the new YMCA board of directors was announced.
Outgoing board president Joe Eddy handed the torch to Dan Daigle, formerly the vice president, who will now hold the title. Paul Bedard was named the new vice president. Treasurer Dan Massucci and secretary Jackie Laramee are remaining in their current positions.
Massucci announced that the YMCA is fully self supporting during his presentation of the $10.6 million budget.
YMCA officials stated in their address that this year’s “Forever Young” theme was chosen to reflect the “seasoned citizens who have experienced life and have a relentless mission to provide a healthy, happy and safe journey for future generations.”
There are currently 201 YMCA members that are at least 80 years old, and 13 members over 90.
Executive director John Myers said it was a “wonderful night of celebrating a wonderful year at the YMCA, reconnecting with lots of friends and supporters of the YMCA and honoring those who, through their actions on a daily basis, make Southington a better place to live.”
Former YMCA executive director Doug McLeod, who served from 1974 to 1992, traveled from Florida to attend the event. He was one of many “Y Legends” that were honored at the meeting.
“His legacy is secure as he along with a dedicated group of staff and volunteers help form the foundation for our work today,” Myers said about McLeod.
Other Y Legends honored at the event were Clara Bellman, Ellen and Bill Brush, Rose Burgess, Dr. Bob Jacob, Judy Korin, Joe LaPorte, Frances Lyss, and Ralph Mann.
Main Street Community Foundation treasurer Val DePaolo and President and CEO Susan Sadecki presented a check to the Southington YMCA for $62,500 on behalf of the Barnes Memorial Trust.
The night culminated in the presentation of awards for community service. Benny Cammuso was named as the 2016 YMCA Person of the Year.
Former YMCA board president Joe Crispino received the Youth Development award.
Lewis Educational Agriculture Farm (L.E.A.F.) was being honored with the Healthy Living award.
The Ben Was Here organization received the Social Responsibility award.
Morgan Maccione and Catherine Kates were honored with the Youth Leadership award.
Photos by JOHN GORALSKI