WALLINGFORD — The nation’s presidents weren't the only ones honored for public service on Monday.
Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. proclaimed Monday, which was Presidents’ Day, as Phyllis Drescher Day, in honor of the longtime Wallingford Family YMCA exercise instructor.
A presentation of the proclamation—which listed Drescher’s positions at the Wallingford and Meriden Ys, the Wallingford and Cheshire senior centers, Wallingford Parks and Recreation, Southern Connecticut State and Yale universities—and celebratory potluck took place at the Y’s westside branch on the 50th anniversary of Drescher’s hire date, which was Feb. 17, 1970.
The date was confirmed by Drescher’s job application and resume, documents the Y still has on file.
Dickinson said Drescher has an “incredible generous spirit with great teaching abilities.
“It’s a lot of fun to salute that and encourage her,” he added.
Currently Drescher, 73, is a water aerobics and Silver Sneakers group exercise instructor at the Wallingford Y. She also runs a water exercise class for those with Parkinson’s disease.
She also hosts quarterly senior events at the Y, and an annual holiday celebration for attendees of all of her classes from all of her agencies.
She even purchased, out of her own pocket, decorative shower curtains for the women’s locker room.
Drescher previously taught gymnastics, judo, tai chi, swimming, group exercise, “mom and tot” sports classes, parent and preschool play groups, Cardiac Rehab Phase 3 and member fitness orientations.
“She continues her great efforts with the Y, with learning healthy lifestyles, and she’s our longest serving staff member,” said Sean Doherty, the Wallingford Y’s executive director.
Drescher is a lifelong Wallingford resident and graduate of Lyman Hall High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education with a minor in sports medicine and master’s degree in human performance, both from Southern.
She and her husband, John Drescher, have one daughter, Kayla Drescher.No plans to retire
Drescher said she has stayed with the Wallingford Y for so long because she could change her job duties and schedule as her life changed.
Drescher became a mother at age 44. She was able to adjust her schedule to stay at home with her daughter during the day by teaching classes at night, and then when her daughter went to school she gave up the night classes and taught during the day.
“Whatever my life changes were, the Y was able to accommodate me and still keep me teaching,” she said.
Although a total knee replacement surgery in December has slowed her down some, retirement is still a ways off.
She’ll be around to see the planned improvements to both Wallingford Y branches.
She said she’s most looking forward to the installation of an elevator at eastside location and the new aquatics facility at westside branch.
Despite the many changes and expansion the Wallingford Y has seen in the last 50 years, the people are the same, she said.
“Our community is the same,” she said. “We still have young people coming through. We have older people … It’s funny when I run into some people and they say, ‘you taught my child, but now I’m bringing my grandchildren here swimming.’”
The Wallingford Y is planning a gala dinner for its 75th anniversary on March 24 at the Oakdale Theatre. For more information, visit the Y’s website.