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YMCA to honor 2016 Hall of Fame inductees

At its annual meeting on December 8, the YMCA of Central Maine will induct four new members into its Hall of Fame, now in its second year. They are Stephen B. Austin, Muriel Bureau, James Lawler and Pennell Woodard.

Stephen B. Austin is a former President of the YMCA Board of Directors, where he played a central role in establishing the YMCA endowment. In the 1980s, he shepherded the Y through a critical leadership transition, serving as mentor to a young executive director who is also being recognized this year, James Lawler.

Muriel Bureau has been a faithful YMCA volunteer for nearly 30 years. To this day, she arrives every Monday through Friday at 4:30 a.m. to open the Y and greet its most die-hard members. For thousands of people, Bureau is the face of the Y.

James Lawler began his more than 30 years of service to the Y in 1980 as Sports Director. He assumed the role of executive director in 1988 and oversaw the Y’s evolution into the organization it is today. Widely recognized for his fiscal responsibility, his team is credited with strengthening the Y’s endowment, introducing fitness and wellness programming, and starting early childhood and school-age curricula.

Pennell Woodard is a lifelong member of the YMCA and a tireless advocate for youth. He established the historic Biddy Basketball program, served as President of the Board of Directors and founded the YMCA NAPA Charity Golf Tournament. Since 2010, the tournament has raised more than $250,000 for youth scholarships. Woodard was honored at this year’s tournament on September 15 at Martindale Country Club.

“The Hall of Fame was established to remember the contributions of the many men and women who have carried the Y’s torch since 1868,” said CEO Steve Wallace. “This year’s inductees represent over 150 years of combined service to Lewiston-Auburn youth and families. They have set the bar high for the Y’s next 100 years.”

“Our priority was finding people who had made extraordinary and tangible contributions to the YMCA,” said 2016 Hall of Fame selection committee chair Elizabeth Shea. “Without a doubt, all four honorees represent the best of Y values, and each has done so in their own way.”

The YMCA Hall of Fame was established in 2015. The inaugural class of honorees included Col. James Bouchles, Pauline Bourgoin, Richard Kendall and Malcolm Philbrook.

This year’s Hall of Fame Celebration and Annual Meeting will take place on Thursday, December 8, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Martindale Country Club. The event is free and open to the public. Donations in honor of the 2016 Hall of Fame class are welcome.

Due to limited space, those attending are asked to register by November 23. To register, contact Victoria Stanton, Director of Marketing & Advancement, at 795-4095 or Online registration is also available at

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