Photo by Lisa Bass
Assistant Blacksburg Parks and Recreation Director, Jack Leahy snatches up a cupcake at his recent retirement celebration.
Feb. 28 was not only the last day of the month but also Jack Leahy’s last day as supervisor of the Blacksburg Community Center and assistant director of the Blacksburg Parks and Recreation Department (BPRD).
After fifteen years of working for the town of Blacksburg, Leahy is retiring. A farewell celebration was held at the Community Center to allow Blacksburg town staff and community center patrons to congratulate and thank Leahy for a job well done.
Many visitors on Wednesday afternoon asked Leahy what he would do with all his free time. Leahy replied with, “It will be free.”
He especially noted that he will not to have to answer any more alarm calls from the center in the middle of the night. Relaxation awaits Leahy on March 1 has no big plans but he is certain that his wife to have started a list.
His wife, Georgiana, is the reason Leahy moved to southwest Virginia. After working at a YMCA in New York State for ten years, Leahy asked his wife if there was ever another state she would like to reside.
She chose Virginia. Leahy worked for the Pulaski County YMCA as director for eighteen years before starting work for BPRD.
“We have loved living here ever since we moved here. Southwest Virginia has great mountains and great people,” Leahy said.
When Leahy joined BPRD, the Community Center was already thirty-seven years old. The center was in bad shape. Leahy advocated for a new wood floor, new lighting and new glass backboards. Leahy is most proud of the wooden floors in gym.
After the facility updates, Leahy said, “I increased the programming options 200 percent.”
Leahy worked to diversify the center’s programming beyond athletics and to include belly dancing, photography, foreign languages, songwriting and more. Leahy is also responsible for expanding the fitness center for patrons and the variety summer camp programs.
“The number of summer camp programs is phenomenal. Leahy is an advocate for everyone from young kids to active adults and senior citizens,” Selena McCoy of the BPRD said,
Joey Herbert, Senior Program supervisor at the Community Center, said, “Jack got us our great fitness center for the community. He is the best team player to work with.”
Leahy joked that now he can attend one of the senior wine trips instead of driving the bus and drinking water the whole time while watching the travelers enjoy the wine tasting.
Dean Crane, director of the BPRD, stated in the About Town brochure, “Jack’s dedication has helped bring a higher level of service to our community.”
Josh Sharitz has been hired to fill the assistant BPRD director role on April 8.