Maddie O.

Lakewood Family YMCA

Maddie was just five years old when her father, Special Forces Sergeant Jay Strickland, was killed in action in Afghanistan. When Maddie and her brother Landon got the news, they were devastated.
 
Their grandmother, Gerri, searched for activities for Maddie and Landon to refocus their anger over the loss of their father into something positive. The family came to the Y and received financial assistance, giving them access to programs like gymnastics, where Maddie quickly become one of the brightest prospects in the program.
 
"When we found the Y, they were able to concentrate on something else to help take
away the pain," said Gerri. "They were able to start living again."