GREENVILLE – The Darke County YMCA honored outstanding volunteers and supporters while reviewing the achievements of the past year during the Annual Meeting Thursday evening. John Keller and John Swallow were recognized as Volunteers of the Year, and Matt Arnold was honored as Friend of the Y.
Executive Director and CEO Sam Casalano introduced his Volunteers of the Year by noting that the top male name for geniuses in this country is “John.”
“Our Volunteers of the Year, it’s no coincidence, are both named ‘John,’” Casalano said in his introduction.
Keller leads his family business, Keller Grain and Feed, and is active in the community, having served on the boards at Wayne HealthCare and Family Health, as an ambassador to the Darke County Chamber of Commerce, and with his church, Oakland Church of the Brethren.
“I believe God has blessed us by giving you to us,” Casalano said of Keller. “A strong and powerful force that he has used to touch so many lives, yet you do so in a humble and never self-serving manner. Thank you for always being willing to use your time, talent and treasure for the benefit of others.”
Keller accepted his award with humility and a return of the recognition.
“My heart has been with the Y forever,” Keller said. “I’ve got to offer thanks and praise to Sam the Man, I call him, and his staff, because our Y is cleaner now than I’ve ever seen it, and it’s so welcoming and so much fun to go in there because you’re greeted right away and you’re served very nicely, and everything’s bright and pretty.”
Swallow is president, CEO and chairman of the board of Second National Bank. His work in the community includes the United Way, Cancer Association of Darke County, Versailles Poultry Days, various youth programs and more. He has served twice on the YMCA board
“John, you are one of the savviest financial geniuses I know, and our YMCA is much more fiscally sound due to your insight and influence,” Casalano told him.
Swallow echoed Keller’s comments about the current state of the Y in Darke County.
“It’s been a lot of fun over the years to be associated with the Y and to, hopefully, give back to the community,” Swallow said.
Casalano spoke on meeting Friend of the Y Matt Arnold for the first time and being “amazed by his sharp intellect, selfless nature and generous spirit.”
Arnold has been involved at the Y since he was 15 years old and has served eight years on the finance committee, as well as serving as a board member and being a former chief volunteer officer.
Outgoing board members former Secretary Ryan Carpe and past President Jerry McClannan were recognized.
“I could get choked up just talking about Jerry and what he has meant to the Y,” said Chief Volunteer Officer Tammy Abell. “His stability and his conscience and his integrity have really kept the ship afloat in difficult times through the years.”
“Ryan is the type of person who brings a lot of energy and causes me to think differently,” Abell continued. “We’re going to miss everything that he brings.”
Casalano also spoke on the outgoing board members.
“Jerry, he led the Y through very difficult times of uncertainty and transition, and he did a wonderful job,” Casalano said, adding that he was also inspired by Carpe’s positive outlook. “Every time I asked him how he was doing, he would say, ‘Living a dream.’”
Outgoing board member Krista Swensen was unable to attend.
New board members Don Lockhart Jr. and Daren Hiatt, were confirmed at the meeting.
Casalano recognized special member Matt VanCulin, who has overcome his own physical challenges to challenge the director to a basketball game twice a week.
Eunice Steinbrecher represented the Special Committee at the meeting. Casalano noted that Steinbrecher wanted it to be called the “Quiet Project Committee,” but he said that would be a misnomer.
“The impact of your efforts is so loud and monumental, its ripple effect will be felt for generations to come,” Casalano said.
Casalano also recognized Dave Knapp, who delivered the invocation, for his unwavering support to the community, especially its youth.
Champions of Hope the Eiting Family/Midmark Corp. and Gloria and Bill Hole/Coppock-Hole Foundation also were recognized for their considerable contributions to the Versailles Pool Project, Childcare addition and special projects.
Special projects in Greenville over the past year have included extensive roof repairs, replacement of boilers, replacement of the carpet in the Child Development Center, replacement of the men’s lockers, replacement of the pool pump and diving blocks, and considerable security upgrades.
Following his philosophy of constant improvement, Casalano closed the meeting by declaring war on the status quo and mediocrity and vowing to “kill that son of a gun, Murphy,” whose Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”