By Natalie Strom
On Thursday, May 10, the YMCA held a farewell party for its Tennis Center Director, Paul Barrus. Over fifty members of the Y gathered on the pavilion to thank Barrus and wish him the best of luck in his new position at Sterling Oaks in Naples.
Cindy Love, C.E.O. of the Marco Island YMCA thanked Paul for his services, saying, “I just like who you are. Your ethics and values are amazing. We are going to miss you a bundle and the new organization you are going to is lucky to have you.”
Cindy’s sentiments were echoed by Jim Curran, President of the Y’s Tennis Advisory Committee (TAC). “We are all here to celebrate an occasion that brings mixed emotions. We all love Paul but are sad to see him go.”
Curran went on to discuss all of Paul’s accomplishments in his short time as Tennis Center Director. Under Paul’s watch a brand new set of round robin and tennis center rules were established, the four tennis socials held that year were all sold out and the first pro-exhibition was held at the Y. The most successful For the Love of the Y event in years was held under Paul’s direction. Curran also noted that the Tennis Center saw major improvements. Courts were cared for on a daily basis, all courts were resurfaced and had new nets installed, two new water fountains were installed and security was improved.
Brock Wilson, Vice President of TAC and Erin Olmes, Customer Service and Schedule Coordinator for the Tennis Center also spoke, acknowledging their gratitude for all Paul has done for the Y.
“Thank you for a wonderful experience,” Paul replied to all in attendance. “Everywhere I look, I see somebody I have been touched by. When I come here I feel like I’m with my family.”
Members of the Y then presented Paul with a brand new Florida Gators hat, teasing him to get rid of the old one as it has seen better days. A card with a monetary gift was also given and members signed words of thanks on a large board featuring a photo of Paul.
After everyone spoke, members chatted over drinks and sandwiches, all surrounding Paul to have a chance to speak with him.
As Curran put it best in his speech to Paul, “you’ve left your mark in the eleven months you have been here, but we will miss you for years to come.” Good luck to Paul, his wife Beth and three sons, Danny, Chris and Paul as they move on to a new “family.”