• 73°

‘Loved and welcomed’: Former UNC basketball player Al Wood kicks off Hurley YMCA’s annual campaign

By Liz Moomey

liz.moomey@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Former UNC basketball star and NBA player Al Wood kicked off the JF Hurley Family YMCA’s annual campaign Tuesday morning with a message to “make a difference.”

The Hurley Y serves 9,000 members and half of the members qualify for a reduction in membership dues, for which it allocates $400,000 annually for financial assistance services.

“This Y’s philosophy is we turn nobody away for financial reasons,” said Tom Childress, chair of the board of managers. “If they want to be a member of this facility, we will work to make that happen.”

Wood said the importance of having a community center for youth is important. As a kid, Wood said, his father left and his mother was a “practicing alcoholic” who moved the family around a lot. There is a need for young people to have a place to go that is safe and welcoming, he said.

“They just want to be loved and welcomed,” Wood said. “Historically, that’s what the Y has been. It’s been that place where a young person can go and they can feel welcomed.”

If a Y is not available for young people, it may lead them to join a gang, he said, adding that young people are looking to find someone to latch onto and tell them that they are good.

Hurley Y Director Richard Reinholz listed the many activities the facility offers, including a variety of sports from basketball to pickleball and programs. They also run Special Olympics, hold a second grade swim program for six elementary schools, partner with Novant Health to offer physical therapists, work with Healthy Rowan to teach children good eating and exercise habits and host water therapy for exceptional children in Rowan-Salisbury Schools.

“I believe we are one of the greatest assets of our community and the only way we can continue to be that asset is having help from our volunteers and having help from our donors,” Reinholz said. “I don’t like asking people for money, but I’m not asking for myself.”

Wood said people personally can make a difference.

“Many times, we look at somebody else to be able to make a difference when it’s in our own power,” Wood said. “It’s within our own hands to make a difference and do what you do. Some people can give time. Some people can give money. Some people can give whatever they have.”

It doesn’t matter who you are, Wood said, to make a difference.

“You may not be able to throw a baseball,” Wood said. “You may not be able to swim like Mark Spitz. You might not be able to do all that or run like Carl Lewis, but you can make a difference.”

Wood spoke about struggling himself with alcoholism. A date he won’t forget is Nov. 19, 1989 — the last day he drank. He had help getting sober, and he now talks to young people about drinking and drug use through Game Plan for Life, a nonprofit created to teach youth about consequences of destructive decisions.

Referring to the sudden death of basketball player Kobe Bryant, Wood said he wanted to make a difference. 

“While you’re still breathing, while you’re still have breath, make a difference, because soon the count is going to be out and there ain’t nothing you can do,” Wood said.

The fundraising campaign will continue for a month for Hurley Y. If you’re interested in donating, contact Reinholz at 704-619-0792. He also said the Y also is looking for volunteers to coach youth sports leagues or teach classes.

Comments

Local

Pedestrian hospitalized after being struck by police car

Local

Torch Run returns to Rowan streets, raises money for Special Olympics

Crime

Fish arcade company drops suit against Rowan County Sheriff’s Office

Crime

Man faces kidnapping, assault charges after woman escapes at Webb Road Flea Market

Local

Natoli promoted to assistant county manager, will retain human resources director title

Education

Attendance restriction lifted for RSS graduation ceremonies

Business

Rowan Chamber of Commerce will host in-person Power in Partnership on Thursday

Business

Rowan EDC will undergo name change, alter board requirements with updates to bylaws

Nation/World

Israel strikes Gaza tunnels as truce efforts remain elusive

Nation/World

Supreme Court to take up major abortion rights challenge

Nation/World

Biden boosting world vaccine sharing commitment to 80M doses

Crime

Man charged for stowing away on Norfolk Southern train, impeding railroad operations

Local

Group will protest treatment of Georgia woman during 2019 traffic stop

Crime

Man overdoses at Piedmont Correctional Institute

Crime

Sheriff’s Office: Two men escape from jail, found in bushes on Fulton Street

Ask Us

Ask Us: When will North Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue be resurfaced?

Local

Political Notebook: Rowan’s lawmakers pass 140 bills into the opposite chamber before deadline

Local

Police chief to present use of force policy; city manager to present 2021-22 budget

Crime

Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on charges of felony larceny, possession of stolen vehicle

Coronavirus

CDC director says mask turnaround based solely on science

News

Catawba College hosts three in-person commencement ceremonies

Local

With high case loads causing numerous staff departures, Child Protective Services seeks more positions

Education

Livingstone College graduates celebrate ‘crossing the finish line’ during commencement celebration

Coronavirus

Rowan sees 4 new COVID-19 deaths as mask mandate lifted, vaccines administered continue decline