NEWBERRY — After nearly two decades with the Newberry County Family YMCA, Walter Lee Jacobs, a familiar face at the YMCA, has decided to retire.
Jacobs, who has been with the YMCA for exactly 19 years and 7 1/2 months, is retiring as the sports director and facility manager.
Jacobs said his primary function has been to make sure everything was running properly, and if things were not running properly he would get someone to fix it if he could not do it himself.
When it came to sports at the YMCA he would help with sign ups, get kids on teams, find coaches and sponsors and then make the schedules for games.
“We are about to experience a great loss of a valuable resource in losing Walter because of the impact he has had on so many lives in this community over the years. It is difficult to replace somebody like that who has made a difference in the lives of so many young people and families,” said Eric Nelson, executive director of the YMCA. “We will find other people to do this job, but we will never be able to replace him. He is kind of his own institution at this YMCA.”
When Jacobs first started at the YMCA, it was located on Main Street, across from the Purcell building.
“When I first came here we were running church basketball and we used church gyms. The Lutheran Church of The Redeemer, Aveleigh Presbyterian Church and St Philip’s Evan Lutheran Church were on our basketball programs,” Jacobs said. “We started up Coach’s Pitch baseball and we used Glenn Street Baptist Church’s field.”
In 2000 the YMCA moved to its current location on Jollystreet Road, which was the same location as the YMCA’s pool that was built in 1991. Jacobs said this gave the YMCA a more centralized location.
“We have a whole lot more room here. We had the pool here at that time, but we started here in 2000 and it just increased the size of everything we had, the weight room, exercise room, classrooms,” he said.
A favorite part of his job was working with the kids, and watching them grow and develop their skills. This was especially true when it came to basketball, which was his favorite sport.
Jacobs’ last day was Aug. 12. He said now that he is retired, he can do whatever he wants.
“I will still have a little bit of things to do with some of the sports. I want to help out. I will still be the CPO (certified pool operator) until they get somebody,” he said.
Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.