YMCA of Coastal Georgia Honors Community Leaders with Service Awards

Staff Report

Thursday, May 25th, 2023

At its 168th annual meeting on May 16, the YMCA of Coastal Georgia presented honors to community leaders and volunteers who went above and beyond to support the Y mission in 2022. These honorees included a special presentation of the Robert H. Demere, Sr. Volunteer of the Year Award to Al Pace, who has served on the metro office’s board of directors since 1975 and retires this year. The Y also presented Community Builder Awards to volunteers across the association including Ervenia Bowers of the metro office’s outreach programs, Mark Reed of the Tybee Island YMCA and Rec Department, Dillon Wall of the Richmond Hill YMCA, and Tyler Pope of the Golden Isles YMCA.­ 

The Robert H. Demere, Sr. Volunteer of the Year Award
Robert “Bobby” Demere, Sr. was a steadfast supporter of the YMCA of Coastal Georgia whose dedication, volunteer service and philanthropic support of the Y mission are deeply woven into the fabric of our local history. In 2005, the Robert H. Demere, Sr. Volunteer of the Year Award was dedicated to honor his legacy and is the YMCA of Coastal Georgia’s highest award for volunteer service. Al Pace has given nearly 50 years of his time and dedication to the Y by leading its board of directors through leadership changes, economic downturns and the process of opening almost all of the Coastal Georgia YMCAs across its seven-county footprint. Pace is a steadfast champion for youth and families and his notable legacy of service has made an incredible mark on the YMCA of Coastal Georgia. 

Community Builder Volunteer Awards
A true champion for the community, Ervenia Bowers is a devoted volunteer who actively involves herself in connecting information and resources to underserved neighborhoods. A regular volunteer not only at one of the YMCA’s Fresh Express no-cost food distribution sites, but she also takes it upon herself to collect and hand-deliver fresh groceries to home-bound seniors on the west side of Savannah. She has contributed extra items to the Fresh Express program at her own expense including hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, PPE and 2023 calendars, and goes above and beyond by acting as a megaphone and advocate for the YMCA of Coastal Georgia, the REACH grant, and for partner Healthy Savannah. 

Tyler Pope has dedicated hours and hours to the improvement of the exterior facilities at the Golden Isles YMCA, volunteering his personal time to trimming hedges, mowing grass, weed eating, blowing leaves, and engaging in general upkeep of the property. Through his employer, Weyerhauser, he has organized work days at the Y for his staff and coworkers and jumpstarted the transformation process of the underutilized land behind the branch facility.  

Dillon Wall volunteers at each and every event at the Richmond Hill YMCA, and is a pivotal person in building community at his branch. A soldier stationed at Fort Stewart, he is truly dedicated to serving his neighbors, and is constantly engaging with the branch director on how he can be of more help to his YMCA family. 

A strong advocate for the Tybee Island YMCA and Rec Department, Mark Reed is constantly finding ways for his branch to grow and telling the story of what the Y does. His deep connection to Tybee Island has fostered an ability to develop strong partnerships with groups and individuals including the Tybee Beachcomber, Fight Dirty Tybee, Visit Tybee and others.  

The YMCA of Coastal Georgia thanks these and all volunteers for their myriad contributions to the community. 

For additional media information, contact Summer Bozeman, director of communications and marketing, at[email protected] or 912-438-0161.