After five years of big dreams, hard work and incredible fundraising, construction has begun on the new Frank DeLuca YMCA Family Center in Ocala. More than 325 people turned out for the Feb. 21 groundbreaking, which reflected the pride of an entire community. Helping lead the celebration was Ocala businessman Frank DeLuca whose major gift anchored the project’s $5 million capital campaign. Also participating were officials from Munroe Regional Medical Center, which has forged a first-of-its kind partnership with the Y to help combat Marion County’s high rate of chronic disease. Once complete, the $7 million expansion/renovation will result in a 50,000 sq. ft. Healthy Living Center capable of serving 40,000 people per year. In addition to enhanced programs for youth and families, the Y will offer clinically based health and wellness programs designed to prevent diabetes, heart disease and other chronic diseases ─ 50% of which can be avoided through healthier lifestyles. None of this would be possible without the support of thousands of dedicated Y members, donors and volunteers. Chief among them are Steve Wingo and Bill Browder who have been the heart and soul of the capital campaign and every other effort to make this dream a reality. We owe them and the entire Marion County community a huge debt of gratitude.
March 10, 2014