SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - For more than 40 years, David Mason has gone the distance at and for the Habersham YMCA, as one of its most active members and part of the branch's leadership.
Now, he's doing even more that will allow others to get in some distance work at the Habersham Y. He might look out of place doing cardio in street clothes, but he's very much in his place, having logged an estimated 27,000 miles on treadmills since discovering the Habersham YMCA.
"In high school,'' says Mason, "I was a member of a (YMCA) teen board. That started back in 1968 and 1969.''
It's been part of his life since, as a member, a donor, a volunteer on the Habersham Y board since 1990 and now a member of the Metro Board, which oversees all of the coastal Ys.
"He's been a fixture here,'' said Joel Smoker, CEO of the YMCA of Coastal Georgia. "We almost call him the mayor of our YMCA. He's been a strong example of what it means to give back without asking for any reward in return.''
Soon, Mason will have a new place at the Habersham Y, and it will be another way he is giving back.
Construction has begun on his latest donation, the Mason Trail and Outdoor Education Center. It will be a quarter-mile, paved walking trail that will be a resource for YMCA members and neighbors.
"To give this trail and track to the community surrounding the Y will help people be more active and I know that's in his heart,'' Smoker said. "As a lot of organizations are putting up fences these days, the YMCA wants to be inclusive and open ourselves up and be a community organization, and this donation by Dave helps us be even more of a community organization.''
The new trail, which should be completed by September, might mean changes for the WTOC Hometown Hero who is making it possible.
"It's going to be a great thing,'' Mason said. "But I've already been told I can never walk on a treadmill again. I'm going to have to be out there on the trail.''
The trail Mason is donating will be lighted and open to the community to use. It will also include benches, a fruit orchard, and a community garden.