The Colorado Springs YMCA has a history harkening back to the beginning of the city, including the first downtown Y building in 1901.
The Y's mission and always-expanding programs drew an enthusiastic audience for the 138th annual meeting, awards and celebration on March 16.
The evening's "Mission Moment" was in memory of Ryan Pappas, whose mother and brother, Susan and Brandon, talked about the aftermath of his death on Sept. 1, 2014. The Palmer Ridge student went to his first party the weekend of his 18th birthday and it was his last, his mother said. He and a friend died in the car driven by an 18-year-old drunk driver, who pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide.
The community and the Tri-Lakes Y "walked alongside our family during this,"Susan Pappas said. Brother Brandon sought an alternative to partying where "high schoolers can gather" and RAD (Real Alternatives to Drugs and Drinking) was created. Now on Y Friday nights several hundred District 38 young people regularly gather for "safe and sober" activities with friends. More than 400 celebrated graduation at "safe and sober RAD events," they said. The program is run by the students. "Ryan would have loved all of this," said his mother and brother.
Annual awards were presented during the evening, including the top local J.H. Woodgate Award which went to outgoing board member Tom Kennedy.
Top volunteer and staff awards announced: Bill Cherrier, Linda Case, Wayne Lacey, Matt Taylor, Joe Moroski, Dr. Montina Romero, retired Gunnery Sgt. Chuck Jackson, Jan and Bob Knight, Colleen Rusch and Michael Hendricks.