Albany's YMCA chief leaving Tuesday

Dave Wallace, executive director of the Albany Area YMCA, will be leaving at the end of the month to return to Kentucky.

Dave Wallace, executive director of the Albany Area YMCA, will be leaving at the end of the month to return to Kentucky.

ALBANY, Ga. -- After 11 years at the Albany YMCA, including at least five as the organization's executive director, Dave Wallace will be returning to his old Kentucky home at the end of the month.

A native of Berea, Ky., Wallace will be taking a similar position about 20 miles north of his hometown at the Richmond, Ky., YMCA.

"My wife (Dianne) and I had discussed a possible move for a few years, mainly because I wanted to be closer to my parents," Wallace said. "Just by divine intervention the job in Richmond came up, and I am excited by the opportunity. We have really enjoyed our time here, but the sad part is many of the people who live here actually don't know how good they have it. Albany has a quality of life second to none.

"We have beautiful weather, no traffic and a way of life that's really quite enjoyable."

Wallace began his career in 1984 at the Somerset, Ky., YMCA then spent time in Charlotte, N.C., and Moultrie before moving to Albany.

He was named in 2008 to replace former executive director Tim Ward.

"I say this with tongue firmly in cheek, but I think my greatest accomplishment over the past five years is that I didn't screw anything up," Wallace said, laughing. "I must admit that I have been the beneficiary of a strong staff and a very capable volunteer board."

Wallace said he spent most of the past five years building relationships within the community and getting the Y's message out.

"In 2009, we were a little disengaged from the community," Wallace said. "Not many people understood that the YMCA is a lot more than a swimming pool and treadmills. We worked hard to foster a relationship with the Dougherty County School System ... after all, nearly 16,000 kids cannot be ignored.

"We re-established relationships with the Marine Base, Albany ARC and Easter Seals. Some good things are coming from these relationships."

Wallace also is proud he is leaving the local Y in sound financial shape.

"We have no debt and we have a little money in the bank." Wallace said. "The financial collapse caused many Ys around the country to close their doors, but we survived and thrived."

The YMCA will be holding a farewell reception for the Wallaces 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday at the Y's Leadership room.