By Jeffrey Goodman, YMCA of Northwest Louisiana Director of Marketing and Development
It was an historic moment this past Tuesday for the YMCA of Northwest Louisiana when it held its groundbreaking at the Camp Forbing Town Center. Not only did the groundbreaking mark a return of the YMCA to the Forbing location but it included a reveal of the name of the future facility, Lash Family YMCA.
Hundreds gathered to listen to the short ceremony that included an invocation by Pastor Calvin Austin of Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church and short talks by Councilman Grayson Boucher, Commissioner Mario Chavez, Silver Star Grille owner David Alvis and area business leader Mike Woods. Eric England, Executive Director of The Port of Caddo-Bossier and Chairman of the YMCA Board, served as the master of ceremony for the afternoon proceedings.
It was about halfway into the ceremony when Renee Lash, wife of Gary Lash the CEO of the YMCA of Northwest Louisiana, came to the podium and pulled away a piece of cardboard from the rendering of the new Y to reveal the Lash Family name. Renee and her husband Gary have worked for the local YMCA for more than forty years.
Both of the Lash kids spoke at the ceremony. Tyler, a local physician said, “It’s hard to think about my dad without thinking about the Y. I’d be hard pressed to believe anyone has spent more time inside those walls since the 1980s than her [Renee]. Both of them have invested an incredible amount into this organization.”
The Lash Family YMCA will be a 30,000-45,000 square foot facility behind the Silver Star Grille in South Shreveport. An anonymous donor came forward to get the construction started. The YMCA will raise the remainder of the project funds as the construction process begins. The YMCA anticipates it will take between 10 and 12 months to build the new facility.
Gary Lash spoke at the end of ceremony and finished with these words, “It’s been a blessing. It’s going to be a blessing. We’re just so excited for everything that we have to offer. And we hope that you all can participate in being a member and help us build up this community and your families.”