Gazette Sea Foam: Old friend returns for visit at local YMCA

August 1, 2011 

Thanks to Gloria Hiers Hamilton of Beaufort for sharing her story of a special day at the Wardle Family YMCA of Beaufort County in Port Royal.

UNEXPECTED SURPRISE

By Gloria Hamilton

On Friday, July 1, we all got an unexpected surprise at the YMCA of Beaufort County.

I am a greeter for all the camp kids, families and members. In walks a lovely family of three. I said "Welcome to the Y!"

This being close to the Fourth of July holiday, I am dressed in red, white and blue with a red hat, no less. Continuing my welcome, I add:

"I hope you have a safe weekend and eat lots of watermelon."

They smile, and in return the lady says, "I'm Lisa Berenger, and this is my daughter and our friend."

I can't remember the friend's name. He was charming, looks very important, shows me the plaque behind me, and says, "This is THE Lisa Berenger who helped the Y get started many years ago."

Wow!

(Lisa is the former wife of actor Tom Berenger.)

Now I'm getting nervous on the inside, but staying cool. I walk them into Tara Moore's office, and introduce them to her. I leave to get back to my station so they can have a few minutes to talk. I overhear Tara explaining that Mike Bostwick, our CEO, started his vacation that day. They said they really just wanted to look around and see all of our changes.

Later I saw them coming down the hall. I asked if I could take a photo with the gentleman's camera. He insisted I get in with Lisa, and he would send me the photo.

Lisa told me it took her a long time (about six years) to get her idea of starting a local Y off the ground and obtaining donations. She received a lot of negative feedback at first. But you could see in her eyes that she had the determination to achieve her dream of a local Y. She said that when she wrote a letter to the editor in The Beaufort Gazette asking for support, she received quite an excellent response -- 100 people wanted to help and 40 wanted to be on the board.

She added that when her kids were bored she told them how to raise money for a worthwhile cause. One special time they did something and raised $500. I told her about selling my hats in grab bags and making $100 for the youth camp's campaign. I added if ever she had any money floating around we sure could use some for our Y. We laughed and said how bad the economy is for so many.

I commented that, "Our health is our greatest wealth." My husband and I have been coming to the Y for many years, and loving the Christian atmosphere where the mind, spirit and body indeed get refreshed.

At the end of the wonderful conversation, I added:

"Lisa, you had such a special mission in your heart. It must make your heart full after so many years to see what a planted seed can do." She smiled.

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