Sam Wills presented with YMCA Professional Excellence Award

Published 8:47 am Saturday, March 19, 2022

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Sam Wills, senior program director of the Outer Banks Family YMCA, was honored with the Professional Excellence Award at the 2021 YMCA of South Hampton Roads Annual Meeting held in February.

Adam Kahrl, chief operating officer of YMCA of South Hampton Roads, presented the award. The YMCA of South Hampton Roads Annual Meeting is an annual celebration bringing together YMCA volunteers, donors and partners to report financial performance for the YMCA as well as highlight the prior year’s impact to the community. The annual report is available at

Karhl’s speech for the award presentation appears below:

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I have the honor tonight of recognizing one of our amazing staff with the Professional Excellence Award.

Our YMCA staff nominate the most outstanding candidates for this award, but only one person is selected from this special group.

All the candidates are hard working, passionate, community-minded, caring mentors who ensure everyone is welcome.

Tonight’s award winner has taken service above self to the highest level and reminds us all what servant leadership really means.

No other location was hit as hard with the staffing crisis and challenges to keep operations running smoothly like the Outer Banks YMCA in 2021.

This amazing person balanced staffing challenges at the YMCA with challenges outside of work, including a spouse working out of state and a 7th grader in remote learning,
all the while trying to help others in the community through YMCA programs and services.

This fantastic staff ran the E–learning program to ensure local parents had a safe and dependable place for their children while they returned to the workforce.

This awesome staff secured a grant with Outer Banks Hospital to provide the necessary training and emergency response  equipment for our lifeguard team.

This spectacular staff worked with the local fire departments, beach rescue teams, high schools and the US Coast Guard to promote water safety and prevent drownings.

This legendary staff partnered with the SPCA to create the Soggy Doggy benefit fundraiser and hosted a Breast-Stroke Clinic fundraiser to support the Dare County Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program.

This wonderful staff worked with the Special Olympics and the North Carolina Senior Games, she even hosted a medal party in the gymnasium via Zoom when the seniors won their category for the 7th year straight.

Please help me in recognizing the 2021 winner of the Professional Excellence Award, Sam Wills.