For Howard and Louise Storm, both in their 70s, the “good ’ol days” hold a lot of memories about our neighborhood YMCA.

There were weekly family swim nights, cookouts and Tiny Tot swim classes held at their home pool. There were also programs that helped keep their three children —all Lakewood Elementary, J.L. Long Middle School and Woodrow Wilson High School students — out of harm’s way.

“There were a lot of kids in the high school program, and the lady who headed that up always had after-game parties, where they’d have music, dancing and food,” Louise Storm says. “During those years, it was a wonderful program. It was a good service to the community to have that kind of place for them to go.”

But, for our neighborhood YMCA, it’s the Storms who embody “good service to the community.” In fact, Howard and Louise Storm recently were presented with the Community Life Award from the YMCA @ White Rock, thanking them for 40 years of dedicated service.

“Howard and Louise truly understood the mission of the YMCA and were able to articulate the mission by being involved and connected to the YMCA in a long term relationship,” says executive director Val England. “Without their steadfast participation, we may not be where we are today.”

Through the years, the couple wore many hats at the Y. During his career with Ford Motor Company and, later, in banking, Howard served on the YMCA board from 1971-1980.  During this time, he served as chairman, annual campaign chairman and vice chairman. In the 1980s, “Louise took over where Howard left off,” says. In addition, they’ve always helped with the annual fundraising campaign and acted as chaperones on trips and at Y events.

When other couples quit volunteering as their children grew up, the Storms stayed with it in part, they say, because of their daughter Carolyn Kettenacker, who has served YMCA International twice: first in Jakarta, Indonesia, and then later in Taipei, Taiwan ROC.

Though they remember their early years there fondly, the Storms find the new-and-improved YMCA on Gaston Avenue and Garland Road just as exciting.

“It’s an old big building, but they did a great job of working it over,” says Howard of the recent renovation. “It was very nicely done, and it’s very convenient to people in the area here.”

Louise agrees, adding: “The new facility is a beautiful one. It’s given us a chance to have all kinds of different services. The playground, day care. The fitness program has become very big. It’s been fun to see that they’ve just reached out to the neighborhood to do a lot more things.”

The Storms are so impressed with the Y’s accomplishments, in fact, that they’ve had no trouble finally cutting back on their work there.

“We just thought maybe 40 years or so was probably gonna be enough,” Howard says.

Now, they say, their time is filled with church work and going to see their four grandkids.

“We chase them around and see a lot of games. We’ve seen a lot of soccer games, some in 110 degrees and some in the 30s,” Howard jokes.

Says Louise of their times with the YMCA: “It’s been a very special thing to us in all the years we’ve been here.”

And, she adds, she hopes others in the neighborhood will keep up the good work.

“The more community support, the better it is,” she says.

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