It’s my pleasure to introduce you to one of the newest members of the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids, although you’re just as likely to see him with a pen and pad in hand as you are a basketball or set of weights. Tom Rademacher is one of the most respected writers in all of West Michigan and beyond, and throughout the rest of this year, he’ll be penning stories for The Y to help create an awareness of how our organization is so much more than a destination for “gym and swim.” A reporter and columnist with The Grand Rapids Press for more than three decades, Tom has published two books of his works in “Splitting Wood” and “Knocking At Your Door.” Twice in the last three years, he’s been honored with a First Place award by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.
We’ve long been impressed with how Tom reminds us of the ways in which we’re all connected, and we’re excited to partner with him so he can bring his writing skills to relate stories of the magnificent people who comprise The Y. He’ll be generating profiles mostly of Y members, seeking out the inspiring and encouraging elements that make them worth knowing and worth sharing. Over the ensuring months, we’ll be posting Tom’s stories in both electronic and print form, so you’ll be able to meet some of the faces and programs that make The Y great.
Tom’s actually not a new member to The Y, but a renewed one. He learned how to swim at the YMCA on West Leonard Street during the early 1960s, strapping a towel and swim suit to the handlebars of his bicycle for the ride to his weekly lessons. That early experience at The Y launched Tom into a world of aquatics, setting the stage for him to become a standout swimmer, and later a lifeguard, age-group coach and master’s level competitor.
Ronald K. Nelson