By Samantha Bengs

The Red Wing Area Chamber of Commerce recognized the Red Wing Family YMCA as the Beauty, Health and Wellness Business of the Year. Voted on by Red Wing Chamber members, the award was a great honor for staff and members, Executive Director Mike Melstad said.

“We are truly touched with this recognition,” Melstad said.

The YMCA’s tenure as a part of the Red Wing community dates back 146 years.

“We have a long history of serving many community members,” Melstad said. “We are not driven by profits, we are driven by a mission and cause to improving the community.”

The YMCA focuses on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. With more than 5,000 members, the YMCA strives to provide options for all ages.

“We made some great additions in 2014,” said Elaine O’Keefe, social responsibility director. “We added new fitness classes, bringing our total up to 80, new equipment, and doubled our swimming lessons,” she said. “We get to carry the torch in this building, but it is really our staff, members, and hundreds of volunteers that make us be at our best.”

Melstad and staff said they were overwhelmed at the annual Chamber Award Banquet held Feb. 2.

“We looked out and saw all the other businesses attending, and realized they are all involved with us,” Melstad said. “We are integrated so well with Red Wing businesses, without those partnerships, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

It would be hard to imagine Red Wing without the YMCA. It has a long, storied past, and is a staple in community involvement.

“We are humbled and honored with this award,” Melstad said. “It is affirming for us to see when we are at our best, we are a stronger community.”

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of stories about the seven recipients of the Red Wing Area Chamber of Commerce 2014 awards.