TIPP CITY — When the Miami County YMCA dedicated its new shelter house this week, they attached a well-known name to the wood and metal structure.
The 24-foot-by-60-foot shelter house, located at the Robinson branch of the Miami County YMCA, was named in honor of longtime CEO Lowell Nees. Nees, of Piqua, was the CEO of the Miami County YMCA from 1983 to 2011.
The shelter house, constructed in the manner of a pole barn, was built with funds from a grant from the Troy Foundation. The plan was already in the works prior to Nees retiring in 2011, after the YMCA acquired the property next to the Robinson branch. According to Branch Executive Donn Craig, the shelter will be used for the YMCA’s day camp program, youth sports and family activities.
“I was very honored and very surprised,” Nees said of the dedication of the shelter, which includes a plaque with his likeness on the building. “I wasn’t shocked when they invited me to come to the event; that didn’t surprise me. But I was pretty shocked when they honored me.”
Craig said the dedication was fitting, as Nees was instrumental in bringing the YMCA’s Robinson branch to fruition.
“I am pleased that the YMCA board of directors decided to bestow this honor on Lowell. Lowell has been a great influence on me as well as countless numbers of YMCA staff and volunteers,” Craig said. “During his 28 years as our executive director, he was responsible for leading the efforts to build the Robinson branch.
“Under Lowell’s leadership, the YMCA expanded its programs and facilities to better serve the entire Miami County community.”
Nees, who worked at YMCAs in DeKalb County, Ind., and Columbus, prior to coming to Miami County, said he long ago saw a need for the second YMCA to meet the needs of the southern half of the county.
“I knew for a number of years that the Troy and Tipp communities wanted to have a YMCA,” said Nees, who continues to fill in for other YMCAs when they need an interim executive. “We had good participation from those communities, and knowing that these were a good distance from the Piqua YMCA, it made sense to put a branch there.”
The shelter house, which can accommodate around 60 people, also has eight picnic tables and is equipped with electric lighting and service, according to Craig. Members and community organizations will also be able to reserve the shelter for events, he said.
“It was a great honor and I am deeply touched that they decided to honor me,” said Nees, who, along with his wife, enjoys traveling to see his two daughters, and enjoys boating in his retirement.
Reach Melody Vallieu at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 552-2131.