WARSAW — On Tuesday, Aug. 9, Baker Youth Club held a special open house honoring a milestone in the club’s history and one of the most important men in the club’s history.
In August 1926, Baker Youth Club first opened their doors, 90 years later and the organization is still serving the area youth. The club has changed locations and directors, but their main mission remains the same throughout the years. Nightly, the club serves around 200 children by providing homework help, great role models, a nutritious meal and snacks and safe entertainment.
Coach Lichtenwalter served as director of BYC for 29 years, but had served 77 years combined as a member, staff person and director. Many people referred to Lichtenwalter simply as coach and his BYC newsletter was called “Coach’s Corner.”
During the open house, BYC staff honored Coach by opening their very own “Coach’s Corner.” Located just outside of the front entrance now sits a memorial bench surrounded by a small garden.
“Coach is a pillar with this organization and a pillar with this community, said Tracy Furnivall, executive director. “We had the new building named after him, but when he passed just over a year ago we felt that we needed to do something else to honor him. It’s fitting that we are celebrating 90 years today and also celebrating the guy that has served the longest.”
During the open house, BYC also had old photographs of Coach and other important people in the organization to look through. Many families and volunteers showed up to view Coaches Corner and relive old memories.
“Coach was a great guy,” said Tom Breading, a long-time clubber and current volunteer. “I knew Pete Thorn as a friend and I’ve known all the directors. I’ve always looked up to these guys. I have a lot of respect for them.”
BYC is also giving the community an opportunity to honor Coach and be a part of Coach’s Corner. The public is able to buy memorial bricks that will be placed around the bench. The bricks are $150 for a 4×8 and $200 for an 8×8.