The Kohl Train has left the station! Last week friends, family members, community leaders, and YMCA staffers joined together to honor Doug Kohl’s legacy of leadership of the YMCA of Greater Akron. A high-spirited celebration featured tributes from a variety of those Doug has impacted during his 42 years of service to the YMCA, a live “Blue Grass” band, and more than a few “Dougisms”. For instance, his son-in-law recalled one of his first conversations with Doug when he was told, “I will exercise the full extent of the law if you disrespect my daughter”.

In his own remarks following the comments by current and former Board members, his three children and their spouses,  and key community leaders,  Doug said, “The YMCA is an awkward expression of my faith”.

Growing up in the Y, early on Doug determined to keep his faith a vital part of his experience as a YMCA employee. With that conviction he has been able to do a remarkable job of building collaborative partnerships within the greater Akron community. He says his motto has been to “bring together people of faith with people of good will to do great things in the community”.

New CEO of the YMCA of Greater Akron, Jill Kolesar, shared the two key lessons she had learned from Doug over the past 16 years – “MISSION AND MARGIN”. The importance of the Christian mission was central to Doug’s leadership, but he was also an astute business man. He not only stabilized the finances of the Akron YMCA, but led it through a series of significant expansions without incurring significant debt.

YUSA Resource Director Ruth Knous thanked Doug for the example he set for other YMCA leaders and read a framed personal letter from YUSA President Kevin Washington, a close personal friend of Doug throughout their YMCA careers.

Jeff Kline, the current Chairman of the Board of the Akron YMCA, highlighted the night by unveiling a mockup of the  new sign for the University Park YMCA, a 5 year old state of the art  downtown facility. This branch will officially be name “The Kohl Family YMCA” in honor of Doug’s leadership and service to the association.

Thanks, Doug, for leaving a legacy of faith and leadership that lives on in all those you impacted through your years of sacrificial service to the Akron YMCA.