Armed Services YMCA Hosts Y Fry
From 5 p.m.-8 p.m. on Nov. 9-10, the Armed Services YMCA of Lawton-Fort Sill, hosted their ninth annual Armed Services Y Fry at the Great Plains Coliseum in Lawton.
Armed Services YMCA Director of Administration Kate Whitehead said, due to their generous sponsors, 100 percent of ticket sales went directly toward the Armed Services YMCA programs for military families.
“Our mission is to make military life easier,” Whitehead said. “We do that through our child care which we offer at a subsidized rate based on military rank.”
Whitehead said the Armed Services YMCA has a food pantry supplied with non-perishable food items available for military families in need. Referrals are processed through Ft. Sill by sources such as financial advisors, commanding officers, Army Community Services, Chaplains and other higher ups.
“We also have a soldier’s closet,” Whitehead said, “which is our free store for our junior enlisted E-1 to E-5 and their family members where they can shop twice-a-month for free.”
President and CEO of Arvest Bank David Madigan was the Honorary Chairman of the Armed Services Y Fry. He volunteered his time for the first time this year; however, Arvest Bank has sponsored the Y Fry for all nine years.
“Strictly from a volunteer standpoint,” Madigan said, “you really gain an appreciation for how hard the staff works—not only in what they provide to soldiers and families every day, but to put on an event like the Y Fry is huge.
“The sacrifices that our soldiers and families do on behalf of all of us every single day is remarkable—whether they’re deployed or not. This is our opportunity to thank them.”
E-4 Army Reservist Daniel Spenard, along with his wife, Sarah, and their two children, attended the event on Wednesday as the Armed Services YMCA Honorary Family.
Whitehead said members of the Armed Services YMCA recognize one military family a year who had previously used their services.
“We think it’s an important time of year,” Whitehead said. “We want to show them how much we appreciate our services members and what they do for our freedom.”
Sarah Spenard, who is a senior and social studies education major at Cameron, said she has been using the YMCA’s childcare services for a year-and-a-half. She also said she works there part-time as the lead teacher in the gold fish room.
“I’ve made great friends there that I’ll have for the rest of my life,” Spenard said. “My son absolutely loves it. If he sees one of the teachers outside of school, he runs up to them and gives them a big hug. You couldn’t ask for anything better than that.”
Spenard said the Armed Services Honorary Family recognition meant a lot to her and her family.
“We were very honored,” Spenard said. “It shows that they really do care about their soldiers and their families.”
Whitehead said former Chick-fil-A Owner David Pope initiated the event nine years ago. She said Pope reached out to them because he wanted to create an event that would last long past his years.
“He was a long-time supporter of ours,” Whitehead said. “He was a retired colonel but he never talked about it. He was very humble. He made it his mission to do whatever he could to support soldiers and their families.”
The Armed Services YMCA will be hosting their annual Partner Member Campaign Breakfast in January 2017.
Additional Y Fry sponsors included five-star sponsor Chick-fil-a, two-star sponsors: Apache Casino Hotel, ASRC Federal, ASRC Federal, Sam’s Club and Stevens Trucking and one-star sponsors: Arvest Bank, BancFirst, Billingsley Ford, Coca-Cola, Corvias Military Housing, Glenn Oil, Lockheed Martin, Pam & Barry.
The Armed Services YMCA accepts donations including cash, clothing and household items.