Sally Hipes wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry during her retirement party Thursday, so the 82-year-old did both.
For many members, Hipes put the family in Forsyth County Family YMCA.
“Sally was Owen’s very first girlfriend,” said Jenna Turner of her son’s love for Hipes. “She’s another grandma to them. She’s a blessing, an absolute blessing. She has made us feel like this is our home.”
It’s been 15 years since Hipes first took a job at the Alpharetta YMCA. She transferred to the Forsyth site when it opened several years ago and it’s been her home ever since.
“She is our early morning shining star,” said Jackie Johnson, finance development coordinator for the YMCA. “Everybody just loves her. At 5:30 a.m., she opens the Y. We’re going to miss her.”
About 200 members attended Thursday’s banquet, held in the facility’s gym.
Members and leaders of the YMCA community talked about Hipes’ service and honored her with a lifetime membership.
“I love all of [the members] and I’m going to miss all of them,” she said during her party Thursday. “They’re just like family to me and I love them all.”
Hipes joked she planned to return to the YMCA for workouts several times a week, but doesn’t plan on continuing to wake up before 4 a.m. every day.
“There’s no place like the YMCA to meet good friends,” she said.