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DeLand Y to celebrate 50th, honor local volunteers

TEAM PLAYER — At the DeLand Family YMCA, board member Peg Mahoney shows the baseball jersey donated by Atlanta Braves hall-of-famer Chipper Jones, who grew up in Pierson. The jersey is one of the silent-auction items that will be sold Thursday, Nov. 16, at the YMCA’s 50th-anniversary gala and fundraiser.  

TEAM PLAYER — At the DeLand Family YMCA, board member Peg Mahoney shows the baseball jersey donated by Atlanta Braves hall-of-famer Chipper Jones, who grew up in Pierson. The jersey is one of the silent-auction items that will be sold Thursday, Nov. 16, at the YMCA’s 50th-anniversary gala and fundraiser.  

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

The DeLand Family YMCA has announced that businessman Earl Colvard will receive the 2017 Jerry Frierson Award.

The award is named in memory of another DeLand business owner whose selfless volunteerism aided the YMCA and many other organizations. The honor will be presented Thursday, Nov. 16, as the DeLand Family YMCA celebrates its 50th anniversary with a party and silent auction at the Sanborn Center.

Also at that gala, Melodee Clarke, Alice Fogle and Pastor Wendell Raulerson will be the first recipients of Heart of the Y Awards, recognizing their dedication and commitment through the years to the mission and work of the DeLand Family YMCA.

Colvard — grandson of the former mayor for whom DeLand’s Earl Brown Park is named — is president and owner of  Boulevard Tire, which has several locations, including the service center at 816 S. Woodland Blvd. in DeLand. 

Though active in his support of many causes and organizations, Colvard usually avoids the spotlight. This night will be different, as he and the other attendees remember a colleague who set a standard for community service.

“In light of the fact that I did know Jerry so well for so long, it has additional meaning for me,” Colvard said.

Colvard said the YMCA earns his support because it covers so many bases — physical, emotional, spiritual — for so many age groups. And, thanks to efforts over the past 20 years or more, the local YMCA serves a diverse demographic, too.

“The scholarship program has grown from meager beginnings to probably in excess of $100,000 a year,” Colvard said. “It’s one of the organizations that make our community such a wonderful place to live.”

The Anniversary Celebration and awards ceremony will raise funds for scholarships as well as for other YMCA programs.

DeLand Family YMCA Executive Director Gary Grumoli said Colvard has been a stalwart supporter from the organization’s early days, through building expansion and to the present.

“He was part of the building committee and always, from an advisory standpoint, someone we can call,” Grumoli said. “He’s a great sounding board and offers guidance. For a nonprofit like the Y, his expertise on different matters is invaluable to us, as we try to help others.”

Colvard was selected by the YMCA’s Auction Committee and board of directors.

The new awards, Grumoli said, are designed to recognize YMCA associates who have gone “above and beyond” to help the DeLand organization.

Two Heart of the Y recipients have been active board members: retired teacher Clarke and retired attorney Fogle. The third, Raulerson, is the DeLand Family YMCA’s spiritual leader and chaplain.

All are welcome to join in the celebration of service and snag some bargains at the silent auction — all while helping raise funds to further the YMCA’s mission.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. in the Wayne Sanborn Center, 815 S. Alabama Ave. in DeLand. Tickets, $25 per person, can be purchased at the DeLand Family YMCA, 761 E. International Speedway Blvd. Call 386-736-6000.

Co-chairs for the event are Diane Zeidwig and John Terhune.

It will be a night of well-deserved recognition, Grumoli said, including a salute to the MainStreet DeLand Association for the town’s earned status as America’s Main Street. 

“With Earl, Melodee, Alice and Pastor Wendell being kind and humble enough to accept these awards, words cannot adequately describe the amount of time and work these four wonderful people have done on behalf of many children, families and individuals at the DeLand Y through the years,” Grumoli said. “They are people who look to make the world a better place through their hard work and compassion for others. I cannot think of anyone more deserving, and we are blessed to have them as members of our Y family."

- Erika Webb, erika@beacononlinenews.com

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