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YMCA celebrates Dick Marks Day in Waynesboro

June 01, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. have their days.

Now, Dick Marks has his.

Waynesboro Mayor Louis M. Barlup Jr. made it official when he signed a proclamation declaring Tuesday, May 31, 2005, as Dick Marks Day.

Tuesday marked the official end of a 30-year career for Marks, 63, as executive director of the Waynesboro Area YMCA.

Alan Smith, associate director and 25-year veteran at the YMCA, takes over Marks' job today.

Marks was hired as the first executive director of the newly built YMCA at 810 E. Main St. in 1975. He had been a program director at a YMCA in his native Massachusetts when he was picked for the Waynesboro post.

Posters taped inside the YMCA's front door are testimony to Mark's tenure.

In 1975, the YMCA had 994 members. Last year, membership was 3,443. Total attendance in 1975 was 20,000. In 2004, it was 167,000, according to the posters.

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The YMCA went through major expansion projects every 10 years beginning in 1985, with the addition of a second gym and a fitness center. In 1995, a warm-water pool was added.

This year, the YMCA is near the end of a $1.5 million fundraiser that will add a new teen center in the rear of the building and expand its child-care and fitness facilities up front, Marks said. Ground is expected to be broken this fall, he said.

"That one will be up to Alan," he said.

Marks said YMCA officials have to expedite future expansion projects in light of the growth projected for the area.

Smith, 48, said the YMCA has nine full-time employees and a normal contingent of 90 part-timers, a number which expands to about 150 when summer playground and other programs begin.

He called Marks "a fantastic role model for the last 25 years. I appreciate his genuineness. What you see in Dick is what you get. He treats everyone consistently and fairly and he has high Christian principals. He is by no means perfect, but he has a way of deflecting attention from himself to others."

Marks said he could not have chosen a better successor. "Alan will bring gifts that I don't have," he said.

Smith said he intends to continue the programs and advances that Marks began.

Marks' day began Tuesday with a catered breakfast and a spiritual service with YMCA staff members and members of the board of directors.

At noon, his years of service were recognized at a luncheon by the local Rotary Club. In the afternoon, he received state recognition from state Rep. Pat Fleagle and a representative from state Sen. Terry Punt's office.

Tonight, he will be feted at a retirement banquet at the Waynesboro Country Club. His wife, Penny, his five children, his brother and friends will attend, Smith said.

"I'm already thinking that retirement is going to be great," Marks said.

"I've been seeking advice and was told two things - stay out of my wife's way and don't say yes to anything for 30 days."

Marks said he plans to travel and work part time at things he likes.

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