Tom Taylor Family YMCA
Dr. J. Edmund Hughes is an inspiration. For the past two years, Ed has combined community service and fitness by “plogging” five days per week. Plogging is Sweden’s latest fitness craze that is now making its way to the United States. The term is a combination of jogging and the Swedish “plocka upp,” meaning "pick up." Ed jogs for a few minutes, stops to pick up litter, jogs, picks up litter, and so on.
In his youth, Ed said he was a “chubby” child. During the '70s and while teaching high school, his roommate, a cross country coach, encouraged Ed to start jogging. He has been running ever since, competing in a few 10Ks and six half-marathons.
Ed was inspired to combine community service with his love running by his longtime friend and mentor, Dr. Weston Noble, a highly accomplished, internationally renowned, and much-beloved American music educator and conductor. Ed remembers watching Dr. Noble walk around his campus at Luther College in Iowa, picking up trash in order to keep the place clean and free from debris. After Dr. Noble passed away in 2016, Ed was moved to emulate his practice of cleaning up trash at the Tom Taylor YMCA.
Ed is a testament to the Y's core values of caring and responsibility through his plogging regimen. He spends about two hours a week on his route: around the Tom Taylor YMCA parking lot, up and down both sidewalks of Harbor Hill, up to the roundabout and back, and in and around the building.
When he's not jogging and picking up litter, Ed teaches at the University of Puget Sound, where he directs the chorale and is a published choral music composer. Ed and his wife Carole joined the Y soon after moving to Gig Harbor from Arizona in 2011.On behalf of the Tom Taylor YMCA, we would like to thank this kind humanitarian for going above and beyond to keep our Y and our neighborhood healthy and clean for everyone.