For many, the YMCA serves as a place to access critical physical rehabilitation support. That is certainly true for Ed, a 62-year-old retired railroad engineer from South Dakota, who began a membership at the Downtown Y in 2016 in order to maintain his aquatic rehab exercise routine, a critical component in his life.

One afternoon over ten years ago, Ed was out riding his motorcycle, a hobby he enjoyed often. This particular day in 2005 ended differently than others. The first thing Ed remembers is waking up in a ravine without feeling in his legs, being assisted by an off duty EMT, the first to come to his aid. Ed underwent back surgery, but the spinal damage was so severe, he was deemed a complete amputee. In 2008, after many months and years of rehab, Ed moved to Boise to be near his children and grandchildren. For years, he found the rehab support he needed at the Idaho Elks Rehab facility. In 2016, after changes were made in their aquatics programs, Ed found himself looking for a new facility. He joined the Y and quickly realized he was “home”.

Ed, like so many others, joined the Y for physical reasons but quickly realized it was a place that offered so much more than that. For one, Ed receives 30% financial assistance, which he says is vital to him and helps him put food on his table each night. Ed is energized by the members and staff alike. He says that no one has ever treated him better than the staff at the Y do. From the front desk staff greeting him to the lifeguards helping him in and out of the pool, a visit to the Y always makes his day better. Ed is part of the Y family, and he looks forward to giving back to an organization that has already given so much to him, just in the few short months he’s been here.