On a recent trip our National Director, Larry Whittlesey, had a chance to visit the Piedmont YMCA in Winder, Georgia. Having visited a couple of hundred YMCAs over the past two years, Larry pretty much knows what to expect to find when he steps into the lobby. However, on this day he was in for a surprise.
The Piedmont YMCA is not a large association, boasting of only two locations. On first glance, the Winder branch seems pretty much like any other branch. But on the country right next to the welcome station you’ll see a small “trophy” with a large star on top. The inscription reads,
“We humbly acknowledge and give thanks to Providence for saving our YMCA. May our actions glorify Him”
That was definitely enough to peak Larry’s curiosity. Angie Putnam, the CEO of the Piedmont YMCA, knew some of the story of how close this YMCA had come to going out of business a few years back. The financial downturn in their community had hit the Y’s membership, and therefore its budget, deeply. After wrestling with every possible decision, it seemed apparent the Y was destined to go bankrupt and close—a heartbreaking reality in a community already struggling to survive. People all over the community joined the YMCA staff and Board asking for God’s provision for their beloved YMCA.
God evidently was listening! Unexpected funds came in that enabled the YMCA to survive the storm and begin to get back on its feet financially. It was a financial miracle no one truly expected…a “no doubter” that God had heard their prayer.
The CEO at that time, Kurt Stringfellow, summed it up for Angie and her current team at Piedmont.
“Angie as you know, the story is of God’s love and how he placed the right people at the right time to save an organization which bears His name. Many people were and are still being are used by God to that endeavor. But the victory was His with a sign for all; during a troublesome time in our Nation and community signifying that He is there and will provide. Likewise, He is working in the present and future with you and your staff team right now. Wow isn’t it great to realize the awesome power of God in our lives? We are so thankful to work at the Y.”
Therefore, lest they forget, this small little trophy of God’s love and provision sits on the front corner of the welcome desk to remind everyone that this YMCA is so much more…just like the tag line says!