The Ronald Reagan American Legion Post presented $25,000 to the Palisades-Malibu YMCA. Y Executive Director Jim Kirtley was thrilled with the donation.
“This will allow us to provide financial assistance to those who need it,” he said.
It may seem odd that a town like the Pacific Palisades, with its high median income, would have people who need assistance.
Kirtley pointed out that the Palisades has a high number of retired people, many of whom stopped working 20 years ago or more and are now living on a fixed income, unable to afford a gym membership at the Y on Via de la Paz. “We have about 300 people who we assist,” he said.
He also noted that the YMCA Youth and Government program, which last year sent 163 Palisades High students to Sacramento to participate in a hands-on lesson in democracy in the State Capital and Courthouse. “Many of those students needed and received scholarships,” Kirtley said.
He added, “We also give some assistance for our summer resident camps. Our focus in 2020 will be seniors and teens.”
Kirtley said the nonprofit Y and the American Legion have been reciprocal friends over the years. The Y, for example, offers two fitness classes a week at the Legion to members and auxiliary members.
Legion Adjutant Kevin Niles, this year’s Citizen of the Year honoree, told Circling the News, “The Legion supports community efforts and the Y is part of the community. The Y also supports programs at the American Legion.”
Niles reminded this reporter that many longtime Legion members, such as Dr. Michael Martini and the recently deceased Everett Maguire, were also active as Y leaders.
“The only reason the Legion has the money to give is because the community supports our revenue,” Niles said, citing its leases with CVS and U.S. Post Office. “All Posts are a gathering point for communities across America.”