YMCA's pool named for local war hero

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YMCA's pool named for local war hero

Mensaje por doc_breacher el Vie 8 Abr 2011 - 11:15

By Steve Huffman
The Dispatch

Published: Monday, April 4, 2011 at 9:48 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, April 4, 2011 at 9:48 p.m.

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The aquatic facility at the J. Smith Young YMCA has existed about 30 years, through the decades catering to thousands of swimmers of all ages and skill levels.

Never has the facility been named. That changed Monday night.

During the Y's Annual Celebration and Volunteer Dinner, organizers announced that the board of directors had voted to name the swim center the Josh Harris Natatorium. The news was greeted with a standing ovation from the hundreds gathered for the night's events.

“There's no way to say thank you enough,” said Evelyn Harris, Josh's mother, referring to the name recognition and the outpouring of support the community has bestowed upon her family since her son's death in 2008.

“The Y was so much a part of our lives.”

Josh Harris was a Navy SEAL who died Aug. 30, 2008 in Afghanistan. He was 36 when he drowned after being swept away by turbulent waters while conducting a river crossing. Scotty Walker, a fellow SEAL who served with Harris and who was the keynote speaker for Monday's dinner, said his friend and comrade died while crossing from Afghanistan to Pakistan in a mission that demanded secrecy.

“So Josh, being Josh, volunteered,” Walker said. “If someone was going in, he wanted it to be him.”

Walker and others shared a number of stories about Harris on Monday.

Their voices cracked with emotion a time or two, but they also laughed, remembering the fun-loving, dedicated guy that Harris was.

“Josh had no fear,” Walker said. “He wasn't afraid of dying, none of us are.”

He said Harris was more than a comrade in arms.

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