YMCA names Volunteer of the Year

COVINGTON - Samuel B. Hay III has been named 2008 Volunteer of the Year by the Covington Family YMCA.

Hay has spent the better part of two decades wearing various volunteer hats for the YMCA.

"There is nothing we do at the Y that Sam isn't a part of," Executive Director Mike Chism said.

Primarily, Hay has helped with fundraising efforts and been an advisor to the YMCA Board of Directors.

For the past two years, he has served as the capital campaign chairman for the new YMCA Outdoor Center. He is also a soccer coach.

"I can tell you one thing that is most gratifying. When kids pull on your pant leg and look at you with that million-dollar smile and they say, 'Hey coach,' it really makes you feel like a million dollars. It happens when you least expect it in all kinds of settings," he said.

Hay got involved with the YMCA in the early 1990s, inspired by his wife Loucy, a past Volunteer of the Year.

When Hay learned more about the organization's Judeo-Christian heritage and its policy to never turn anyone away due to inability to pay, his commitment was sealed.

Despite all his efforts over the years, Hay said he didn't expect to be named Volunteer of the Year.

"I was surprised. I certainly did not feel worthy because the Y is very much a team environment, and everything I have been a part of that has turned out good in my life and with the Y has been the product of tremendous teamwork," he said.

Hay will be honored at the annual volunteer recognition dinner Monday at the Cobb Galleria Centre Ballroom.

True to form, Hay chose to turn his public recognition into an opportunity to push for more community involvement with the YMCA.

"I would like to appeal to the entire community to not only support the Y in general in its program and fundraising efforts but also to provide any support to the furtherance and completion of the outdoor center. There are still needs there for restrooms and lighting and additional parking," he said.

For more information on the YMCA or to learn more about volunteering or making a donation, call 770-787-3908.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.