John C. Travers, Jr. was honored at the YMCA Buffalo Niagara’s 165th annual meeting with the YMCA Lifetime Service Award. John has been an active member of the downtown Y since the 1950s, where he has held various roles on the Board of Directors and Board of Trustees. His commitment and hard work also earned him the Y’s highest honor, the Gold Key Award, in 1985.
John attributes his successful tenure as a Y board member to those who came before him. “Cal Haller and Dick Cutting were my mentors. They took me under their wing and taught me how to conduct a professional meeting,” says John. “Public speaking was a challenge for me, but my time serving on the board helped me become a better communicator.”
“All of the advice my mentors gave me was great. Well, except one thing,” John recalls. “Cal Haller told me to always be myself. That didn’t work out too well for me,” he chuckled. Today John is a Trustee Emeritus and represents the Trustees at the Board of Directors meetings. Like his own mentors, John spends his days training incoming board members. He says “I always tell new board members to figure out where they can best be of service and join those committees. We provide the support the branches need in order to make the biggest impact possible.”
In addition to lending his expertise on various boards, for decades John spent his Thanksgiving mornings committed to a great cause – running the YMCA Turkey Trot. For 40 years he regularly ran the five miles down Delaware Avenue in support of Y programs and services.
Always the life of any board meeting or YMCA event, he is known to bring laughter, and most importantly, a mission-driven attitude. John has dedicated his time, talent and tenure to making the Y a better place for all.