Former YMCA resident leaves "forever lasting" gift

Former YMCA resident leaves "forever lasting" gift
Source: WDAM Staff
Source: WDAM Staff
Source: WDAM Staff
Source: WDAM Staff

PINE BELT (WDAM) - One young man knew there was a place he could go, and "it was fun to stay at the "YMCA."

He was so grateful for one of the nation's leading non-profits service throughout his life, he left a never-ending gift to the "Y" through the Greater Pine Belt Community Foundation.

Alex Katrishin fell in love at USM, became disabled at war, and found himself unfit to be a husband to the woman whom had his heart.

He then moved into a YMCA in California where he would spend decades living comfortably and saving money.

"They opened their arms up to Alex and, he wanted to make sure that this YMCA would be able to do the same for many years ahead," said Dan Henley, the Executive Director of the YMCA.

After years passed, Alex found his long lost love had become a widow. It prompted his return to the Pine Belt for good.

"Low and behold, they found out the spark was still there, so they got married," said Paul Laughlin, retired trust officer.  

It wouldn't be the end of his fondness and time spent at the "Y." Because of its huge place in his heart, he became a familiar face at the "Y" serving Southeast Mississippi.

"He was kind of a character," Laughlin said.

"You better have been on time when you go pick him up. When you tell him nine o'clock, you better be there at nine o'clock," Henley said.

As his health faded, he decided he'd contact the Greater Pine Belt Foundation to make plans for part of his will to go toward the YMCA.

"He said, if I just give them the money, they'll spend it all on some building, and it will all be gone," Laughlin said.

Now his legacy leaves the "Y" over $30,000 every year.

"People needing financial assistance is growing through leaps and bounds," Henley said.

He left a legacy proving that the "Y" is doing as it should – putting Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.

"Every year, at that time, you can't help but think about Alex Katrishin," Laughlin said.

The YMCA has received over $600,000 up to this point.  

"They're doing what they told Alex what they were going to do. The kids are reaping the benefits of his good will," Henley said.