Tragedy in Pittsburgh

When we opened our doors after the tragic shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue, I didn’t think about the impact handing out flyers promoting a safe place for those affected. It wasn’t until I arrived at the Bayne Memorial Library.

When I entered, the librarian greeted me immediately and very enthusiastically.  I told her that I was handing out flyers to let people know that the YMCA would be welcoming anyone in need and asked if she could share the information. She began to choke up and said how wonderful it was that we would reach out to our community in such a dark time.

I did not realize at the time, but one of the victims in the shootings, Richard Gottfried, lived in Ross Township, a local dentist in the community, and genuinely great person. I later found out that one of our own wellness floor coaches as well as a handful of our members went to his practice.

That is when I realized what this really meant to the community and to those directly affected, I began to choke up myself.  I sometimes forget what this organization can do and means for a community. I find myself at times forgetting what these gestures mean to individuals that feel like they don’t have anyone, or anywhere to turn to in a time of need. To some people, this may have seemed like just another promotion, but to those in need of help, this meant the world.

We are here for our community, and for the individuals that have no other place to turn. There are plenty of reasons to be a part of a YMCA, but I think the most important reason is community. There are not many places left that offer the comfort and support that a local YMCA is capable of.

Luke Ranali
Welcome Center Supervisor


Locations: North Boroughs Y
Category: Personal Y Stories