News & Events

  • Still a big wheel in his hometown: Retired car dealer Bob Chambers has not forgotten where he came from

    November 29, 2019

    A New Castle News Article by Dan Irwin

    For nearly 60 years, the name was an iconic part of the New Castle community.

    As far as Maria McKee is concerned, it still is. She just wonders how many other people realize that.

    The Chambers Motor Co. opened in 1925 on North Street before moving to Croton Avenue and finally to West Grant Street, where the Chrysler-Plymouth dealership served the New Castle area for four more decades before it was sold in 1984 by Bob Chambers, the son of the founder.

    Chambers relocated from New Castle to Annapolis, Maryland, in 2014, but the 93-year-old hasn’t forgotten his roots, even though, as McKee believes, much of the community might not remember him.

    It’s her intention to remedy that.

    McKee, the chief executive officer of the New Castle Community YMCA, said Chambers has donated more than $1 million during his lifetime to the Y, and that he and local auto magnate Bob Preston were the driving forces behind the creation of the Preston-Chambers Y-Zone in Neshannock Township.

    “He was always such a big part of the Y,” McKee said. “He would always come and visit and, aside from his financial support, which was quite significant and generous, he would just come in to visit and talk to the staff and was always such a big part of what we did.”

    But that was before she left for Pittsburgh in 2015 after 20 years in various leadership roles at the Y.

    But when she returned as CEO in 2018, a new staff was in place and the name "Bob Chambers" did not have the same reaction.

    She believes that with the Chambers dealership having been gone from New Castle’s cityscape for 35 years, many residents may be similarly stymied.

    “I don’t care if I don’t get another penny from him,” McKee said. “I just want to be able to say who Bob Chambers was, when somebody comes along and sees the Y-Zone."

    Bob Chambers said the Y was an important part of his childhood.

    “My mother died as the result of an automobile accident in 1934,” he said from his home in Maryland. “I was without a mother, and my father was very busy in his business. So he took me to the Y, and I went to Y camp for I couldn’t begin to guess how many years."

    Y camp was a big part of his life, Chambers said. And later, the Y would be, too.

    Chambers said he and his wife “gave quite a little bit of money” to the Y-Zone project, but he passed most of the credit to Preston. “He did an outstanding job putting that together … Bob Preston was the leader of the band, and I just kind of followed along.”

    Chambers continues to follow and to support all the developments at the Y as well.

    “He’s just one of those people that has a profound impact and is still having a profound impact,” McKee said. “I’ve only been here a year, but he’ll call me every six months, ‘I need to know these things.’ He’ll ask me, ‘What are we doing for kids?’ ‘How’s our cash flow?’"

    And that caring will last a lifetime and beyond, she said.

    “He’s done so much that is still growing in this community. But there’s just nobody who talks about him and the legacy he’s going to leave himself.”

    Chambers looks at it more as a duty than a legacy.

    “I believe that if you have a successful, happy time in any community, you do have the obligation of returning something to that community,” he said. “I believe very firmly that New Castle is a prime example of people who had a very successful career who didn’t remember the city, during their lifetime or in their wills.”

    One person who remembers and still keeps in touch with Chambers is Preston, who in 1989 launched the first of what has grown into a family of car dealerships in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio.

    The relationship is more than professional. Chambers’ wife was the first cousin of Preston’s father.

    “Our families have always been pretty close and I not only keep in touch with Bob, but I am in touch with his sons,” Preston said.

    Moreover, Chambers gave Preston his start in the car business in 1980.

    “I learned an awful lot from Bob and he was a big part of me becoming the businessman I am today,” Preston said.

    In addition, he said, Chambers played a pivotal role in Preston’s own support of the Y.

    “With Bob, the big thing that he encouraged me to do after he was retired, and I came back to New Castle and started buying dealerships, he was very influential and encouraging me to get involved with the YMCA and to take on the project of building the Y-Zone,” Preston said. “Not only did he help financially, but he gave me direction and encouraged me to undertake that project and raising the money.”

    Although Preston’s sons Kevin and Bobby oversee the family dealerships now, the elder Preston and his wife Joanne remain in the community and are major supporters of the United Way as well.

    As for McKee, she continues to look for ways to remind local residents that Chambers remains a vital part of their community, too.

    “But other than the Y-Zone, which is the Preston-Chambers Y Zone, he never really wanted recognition,” she said. “We do the Salute Award every year, and I would love to do a salute to Bob, but he’s not the kind of guy that would want that. He doesn’t like the spotlight.”

  • Salute to Ralph Blundo

    September 27, 2019

    Many thanks to those who attended the 2019 Salute to Award Dinner which was held on September 26, 2019. Assistant Principal and Varsity Boys Basketball Coach Ralph Blundo was honored with the Jack & Nancy Flannery Salute to Award for his commitment to building a strong Lawrence County. Attendees enjoyed a video presentation highlighting the many positive developments Ralph has brought to the community through his encouragement and tough love mentality on the youth of New Castle to reach thier full potential regardless of their background or circumstances. We salute Ralph and his team for the impact they have made on our community. 

    We also want to extend our gratitude to all the sponsors and donors who made this event possible:

    PRESENTING SPONSOR 
    Preston Auto Group

    MAJOR SPONSORS
    PNC Bank

    LEAD SPONSORS
    Ralph Blundo Sr.

    Ellwood Group

    Mr. & Mrs. Scott & Amy Fehrs

    First Commonweatlh Banks
    Bill Flannery
    Human Services Center

    Huntington Bank
    Klafter’s Foundation
    Lawrence Community Foundation

    Neshannock Township
    Packer Thomas
    Westminster College

    TABLE SPONSORS
    Arnett, Carbis, Toothman
    Aven Fire Systems
    Classi-Co Foods
    Daniel Soom & Larry Keith
    LGKG
    New Castle School Administrators
    Panella Family Foundation
    Anthony Staph

    Dr. Paul Wawryzinski

    SLIDESHOW SALUTE SPONSORS
    Daystar Marketing
    Doran Concrete
    Pizza Joe's

     

  • Diamond Girls Returned Empowered to Make the Community Great

    September 12, 2019

    Our New Castle YMCA Diamond Girls that attended the Global Youth Leadership Summit in San Diego returned with a new resolve and deep appreciation to Steve and Natalie Vitale for the role they played in helping them attend the leadership summit. Steve and Natalie Vitale provided scholarships to the seven girls that attended.

    In order to receive the scholarship the girls had to write essays on why they should attend and how attending would have a positive effect on them. Attending the summit was so life changing that the girls encouraged the remaining Diamond Girls that did not attend to find a way to go to the summit next year.

    We’re so proud of the Diamond Girls and we can’t wait to see how they will impact the community this year.

  • UPMC Jameson Gifts Lifesaving Equipment

    May 30, 2019

    In April we found out that one of our members had a very rare heart condition. During one of our fitness classes this member collapsed. Thankfully the instructor was a trained nurse and there were class participants who had just finished life guard, cpr/first aid training with Brittany Zastawniak. They worked as a team and were quick to respond resulting in a lifesaving shock for our AED.

    After the member was taken to the hospital we discovered that our AED was so outdated it was difficult for medical professionals to retrieve the data they needed from the device. Since that incident members of our staff have been working with UPMC Jameson and Chery Rickens the EMS Specialist for the AED program with UPMC to get us a new AED.

    This past Tuesday UPMC Jameson gifted The New Castle Community YMCA, Mount Jackson Presbyterian Church and the Vocational and Psychological services state of the art AEDs. This donation was made possible by the UPMC Jameson Junior guild.

    We will be forever grateful to UPMC Jameson and the UPMC Jameson Junior guild for their dedication to community outreach and helping to keep New Castle healthy. 

    *Check out The New Castle News coverage HERE

  • Welcome to the Board!

    May 24, 2019

    We are fortunate to add 3 new members to our Board!  Carole Sheen(right) is the co-chair for our member to member campaign and had graciously come back to our board after retiring from Blair Strip Steele. Tiffany Preston, DVM(left) has been a long time member and supporter of the New Castle Community YMCA and advocate of swim safety Y programs. Valarry Frymoyer(middle) is a SVP in Treasury Management at First Commonwealth Bank. We are honored to have her financial expertise and council.

  • Diamond Girls – Take on the Capital

    May 9, 2019

    Earlier this week a several of our Diamond Girls headed to the capital in support of Tobacco21. An initiative in favor of raising the age from 18 to 21 years old in order to purchase tobacco and tobacco products. Along with taking a tour of the capital and participating in the day’s events they met with our state Senators Elder Vogel and Chris Sainato.

    The Diamond Girls along with Sen. Vogel are in favor of the Tobacco21 initiative as it will leave fewer youths vulnerable to nicotine addiction and the negative health impacts it could have on their futures.

  • National Day of Prayer Breakfast 2019

    May 6, 2019

    May 2nd we gathered in food and fellowship with our community to pray alongside each other and the entire country for the National Day of Prayer. Breakfast was generously donated by Pete Medure of Medure’s Catering in New Castle; and our speaker was Greg Marshall, Outreach Pastor at New Life Baptist Church in New Wilmington.

    The theme for his talk was John 13:34: “Love one another. Just as I have loved you.” Pastor Marshall spoke to us how we could, “learn to love everybody. Not just our family and friends, but those who have wronged us. Not just our co-works and acquaintances, but even those we pass by that we may not pay attention to.”

    He shared with us the story from Matthew 20 about two blind men who Jesus healed when he was walking through a town. Jesus did five things. He heard their cries; he stopped, looked and acknowledged them. He asked what they wanted from him and he gave them the healing touch. What could we do today in order to emulate what Jesus did in Matthew 20? We could, “listen for clues that people are in pain.[We could] stop whatever [we’re] doing at the moment. [We could] look past people’s behavior to see their value. [We could] ask people what they need [and not assume that we know]. [We could] do whatever [we] can to help – to touch someone else’s pain.”  

    We want to give a big thanks to all those who helped with this event! Special thanks to Pete Medure, Greg Marshall and Jeremy Gardner, Worship Pastor at New Life Baptist.

    Thank you to New Castle News for their feature article

  • Retiring Board Members

    April 26, 2019

    This month 3 of our longest serving board members retired from our board. James Rugh, served as a member of the New Castle Community YMCA board since 1988. His experience and involvement in the community allowed him to council multiple CEOs. Michael Bshero served as a member of the New Castle Community YMCA board since 1998. His financial experience made him made him a valuable asset to many of our CFOs and CEOs over the past 20 years. Bill Fitts (not pictured) served as a board member since 2013. He was a major supporter of our Thanksgiving 5ks.

  • YMCA’s Marcia Jenkins is a Lingua Franca Extraordinary Woman

    April 25, 2019

     

    March 1-3, 2019 New Castle Community YMCA’s very own Marcia Jenkins was flown to New York City. The trip was to honor her and 12 additional women who had been nominated by close friends, family or community members to be a Lingua Franca Extraordinary Woman!

    Lingua Franca is a cashmere sweater company located in New York City.  Their sweaters are not only sustainably sourced; they are fair trade and hand embroidered by women in NYC. Each article of clothing is a work of art with a saying that was inspired by an impactful woman of her community. Additionally $100 of each sweater sold is donated to a corresponding charity.

    Marcia Jenkins didn’t think of herself as extraordinary or impactful. Although she is, “touched that [her] daughters think,” she is. Her daughter Susan nominated our 80 year old Silver Sneakers fitness instructor. Marcia has spent her life giving to others. As a reading specialist she empowered her students and gave them skills to excel in school and in life. As Y fitness instructor she inspires her classes to, ‘just keep moving.’ Which is her mantra featured on her Lingua Franca Sweater.

    We are blessed to have such an extraordinary woman on staff at our New Castle Community YMCA!

  • 2019 ANNUAL CAMPAIGN

    April 22, 2019

    Our Annual Campaign kicked off on April 1st! Fundraising efforts go to assist the many programs that the New Castle Community YMCA offers to youths and families. Co-Chairs of our Member to Member Annual Campaign Dorice Shover and Carole Sheen had this message to share to thier fellow New Castle Community YMCA members about the importance of donating to the Annual Campaign:

    "Hi I am Dorice Shover and this is Carole Sheen, co-chairs of the Community Annual Campaign for Youth for the New Castle YMCA.   

    You probably know that the Y helps adults, kids and families live healthier lives. 

    But did you know that the Y provides financial assistance to those who can’t afford membership and programs on their own?  Our Annual Campaign provides scholarships to nearly 1,000 community members each year.

    The Y is committed to empowering youth to reach their personal potential, especially at a critical time in their young lives when they are at risk to start unhealthy behaviors, such as substance abuse and school drop-out.  Nearly 300 local teens are offered free summer memberships through our Seventh grade initiative.

    These are just a few ways in which your donated dollars help our local children and families.  Over our combined 58 years of involvement with the New Castle Y, Carole and I have seen firsthand the difference the Y makes in our community.

    Please join us, through your generosity, to ensure that all of our neighbors can reach their potential.

    Thank you!"

    Read HERE for more information about donating to our Annual Campaign. 

News & Events

QUESTIONS?

For questions about News & Events, please contact:
Mary Flagg Lewis Marketing Coordinator
E-mail:
marketing@ncymca.org
Phone:
724-658-4766
Fax:
724-658-4760