I want to publicly thank Philip Dwyer for his recent service to the Westport Weston Family YMCA as interim chief executive officer. We had just opened our new YMCA building when our CEO retired early. We needed staff leadership quickly and for seven months, ending in June, Phil Dwyer did just that — he led.

We were facing significant staff, financial, facility and program decisions as a group of YMCA volunteers. From re-opening Camp Mahackeno after a three-year absence at that site (during construction) to developing a strong staff team and focusing volunteers on important issues, he gave clear leadership while insuring all views were heard and considered.

We had significant deficits over the past several years while developing our new YMCA facility and we needed direction to insure a strong financial future. On his recommendation we formed a Financial Planning Committee which included a broad range of volunteer leaders. He worked with this group which produced a plan and we are now on a strong financial footing. He produced a balanced budget and our YMCA was ahead of our budget plan when he left.

Most importantly, when we received word of a large bequest, he guided the Board of Directors and Trustees in making important allocation decisions on how best to use the funds. This included establishing a Bedford Family Social Responsibility Fund — his own idea — so our YMCA could focus on service to the larger community, as well as our own membership. To my knowledge, we are the only YMCA in the country who has endowed this important work.

When asked if he would consider being a candidate for the full-time CEO job, his answer was consistent. He is committed to his volunteer service on the Fairfield Board of Education and the 10,000 students who attend our public schools. Our loss is the town’s gain.

I write on behalf of our volunteer directors and trustees and our staff, in wishing him well. Thank you, Phil.

Bonnie Strittmatter