The highlight of the annual YMCA pancake breakfast on Saturday was the donation of a new van by the Burbank YMCA Service Club in memory of longtime member Denny Grossman.
Grossman’s family joined YMCA officials at the dedication ceremony in the parking lot of the Burbank Community YMCA.
Grossman began his service to youth at the Burbank YMCA in the early 1960s. In 1975, he joined the Y’s Men’s Club, now called the YMCA Service Club. Grossman gave the next 39 years serving on numerous club committees and at club functions. He was the club treasurer for 16 years. He was also president and chief executive officer of the club’s corporation for four years. He edited the club’s newsletter called the Y’s Expression for many yea. He also served as the district governor of the Valley District –Pacific Southwest Region Y Service Clubs.
Jennie Stott, Grossman’s daughter, remembered her father became involved with the YMCA starting with Y-Indian Guides.
“He used to always have his own van full of happy kids whose parents couldn’t bring them or what have you,” she said. “He would take them to the various YMCA events — Gray-Y, sporting events, Indian Guides and Camp Earl Anna.”
Grossman passed away in February and the Y is dedicating this van in his honor, Stott said, “to continue his legacy of helping a van full of happy kids go to YMCA events.”
The service club purchased the van from Valley Dealer Exchange in Glendale. Funds were raised by the pancake breakfast and annual Christmas tree sales. Prospective volunteers interested in joining the club can call President Chris Nishimura at (818) 566-7755. They meet twice a month at 6 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month at the YMCA and on the third Tuesday at a local restaurant.
Warner Bros. employees will be applying artwork of happy kids jumping and playing as well as text that displays the name — Burbank Community YMCA and the website burbankymca.org and that the van donation was made by the club in honor of Grossman.
Several club members were in the YMCA parking lot flipping pancakes and sausages on the grill while guests gathered inside the Ray Sence Room to enjoy the bounty. Service club volunteers Alice Roth, who volunteers with the Youth and Government program, and Sue Stimpson were welcoming hungry families and friends at the door. Volunteers filling plates were Ling Woon and Glenda Church.
The van will pick up children and bring them to the YMCA after school to participate in the many programs at the YMCA, said JC Holt, president and chief executive officer of the YMCA.
“What a token of love from the Y Service Club and on top of that to honor the passing of Denny Grossman who has been such a longtime stakeholder of the Y and of our community, so it’s special in a lot of different ways,” he said. “It solves a terrific need for the community and the Y and gives a nice standing legacy for someone who has done so much for our community.”
The van will be used five days a week to pick up kids from every elementary school in Burbank and bring them to the Y to participate in many activities. During the summer, the vans take children enrolled in the day camp on field trips.
The service club also donated a van to the Y last year, Holt added.
“They are so generous in helping us replace our fleet,” he said. “The vans are well taken care of but they age and eventually need to be replaced. They are hauling precious cargo.”