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YMCA Hall of Fame celebration honors community leaders

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The YMCA’s Elizabeth Shea (l.) and John Emerson (r.) present framed citations to (l. to r.) Laurie Reckendorf and Jenny Gruenstrass, representing the family of honoree Col. James G. Bouchles; Malcolm Philbrook; Pauline Bourgoin; and Tom Kendall, representing the family of honoree Richard Kendall.

The YMCA of Auburn-Lewiston held its inaugural Hall of Fame Celebration and Annual Meeting recently at Martindale Country Club. The event offered reflections on the organization’s past, present and future, including potential YMCA projects on Stetson Road in Auburn and Bates Mill #5 in Lewiston.

“Tonight’s Hall of Fame honorees reflect the Y’s best-of-the-best in servant leadership,” said YMCA Chief Executive Officer Steven Wallace. “In honoring them, not only do we reflect on our organization’s past 148 years of service, but we reaffirm our commitment to the future with both a new YMCA and a 93-acre Outdoor Learning & Education Center.”

More than 150 people turned out to recognize the 2015 Hall of Fame inductees. Pauline Bourgoin of Auburn, a YMCA member since 1947, was honored for her 65 years of teaching swim lessons to area children. Malcolm Philbrook was recognized for his leadership of the YMCA’s investment program, helping to establish the first YMCA endowment in the region, and his role in founding Maine Hoop Camp in 1971. Col. James Bouchles and Richard Kendall, who passed in 2015 and 2013, respectively, were recognized posthumously. A businessman and former co-owner of Gee & Bee Sports, Bouchles served 27 years on the Y board of directors, where he took a leadership role in fundraising. Kendall served two terms as president of the Y board and was recognized as Auburn’s Citizen of the Year in 1986.

Those attending were treated to live music from Three Point Jazz Trio, highlights of the YMCA’s impact serving the Greater Androscoggin communities, and video testimonials from those closest to the honorees. Family members reacted with emotion as framed citations were presented to each of the inductees by John Emerson, YMCA board president and chairman, and Elizabeth Shea, Hall of Fame Committee chair and board member.

“He really cares about people and about the future,” said Sharon Bergeron of her father, Malcolm. “He’s been a wonderful role model for everyone.”

The YMCA of Auburn-Lewiston is a charitable organization that seeks to strengthen the foundations of local communities through collaborations and services that focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Each year, the YMCA serves more than 1,800 children in its youth sports, camp and child care programs.

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