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Rye Y Celebrates Volunteers, Mission At Magic & Merriment Annual Benefit

Rye residents Douglas DeStaebler and Laura Kelleher each were honored with the Gold Spirit Award by the Rye YMCA. Photo Credit: Provided/ Rye YMCA
Rye YMCA Executive Director Gregg Howells with Maureen Gomez of Rye who was honored with the YMCA’s Community Service Award. Gomez also is board president of the Carver Center in Port Chester. Photo Credit: Provided/ Rye YMCA

The Rye YMCA celebrated the spirit of volunteerism at its well-attended Magic and Merriment Benefit on May 18.

The event, held at Shenorock Shore Club, featured entertainment by “Stand-Up Magician” Derek Hughes and a salute to three outstanding volunteers.

Rye residents Laura Kelleher and Douglas DeStaebler were each honored with the Gold Spirit Award, the Rye Y’s highest award for its volunteers.

Maureen Gomez, also a Rye resident, was honored with the Y’s Community Service Award.

A member of the board of directors for seven years, DeStaebler served on the Executive Committee for six years. During this time, he held the positions of treasurer and board president.

As chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, DeStaebler led the successful seven-month effort to develop a “Roadmap” to guide the Y’s cause-driven and member-centric work. He also served on the Centennial Steering Committee, which raised over $2 million to ensure the financial strength of the Y far into the future.

Kelleher began her volunteer service at the Rye Y when she joined the Auxiliary Committee in

2005. Two years later, she was elected to the board of directors, where she served two three-

year terms. Her leadership roles included Vice President, co-chair of the Barefoot Bash and March

Madness fundraising events, and co-chair of the Annual Campaign. She was also an active

member of the Board Development committee.

The Community Service Award was presented to Maureen Gomez, whose impact extends far beyond Rye. She is known as an advocate for pedestrian safety, having served as the co-chair of the Shared Roadways Committee, a member of Rye’s Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Committee, and a parent representative on the Safe Routes to School Committee. She has served as president of the board for Twig and the Rye Crew Booster Club. Most recently, she has devoted her time and energy to the Carver Center in Port Chester, where she is currently president of the board, and to Part of the Solution (POTS) in the Bronx.

All proceeds from the event support the Y Cares Financial Assistance program, which allows the Rye Y to keep a promise to the community: No one is turned away from a Y program or activity because he or she can’t pay.

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