MARCO ISLAND — Some people give millions of dollars to have naming rights to a facility. Long-time swimming instructor Dottie Weiner gave millions of hours.
The announcement that the Greater Marco Family YMCA would name its pool after Weiner came as a surprise Sunday. Y supporters, friends and volunteers gave her a standing ovation during the Y's Seaside Celebration at Kurrents Restaurant in the Marriott's Beach Resort.
Known to thousands of children who grew up on Marco Island, Weiner is more recognizable as "Miss Dottie," the woman who taught them to swim. She taught multiple generations over more than 40 years as an instructor and coach.
Weiner was one of the original pioneers of modern Marco Island. She arrived during Deltona's heyday, working in real estate and teaching swimming at the Marco Beach Hotel, the site of the island's only public pool.
On an island with multiple private pools and surrounded by beaches and canals, Weiner encouraged parents to enroll their children in swimming lessons as infants. She has been honored many times for life-saving instructions that led students to save at least 10 people from drowning.
Weiner expanded her programs to include "Waterwise," a multi-faceted program to teach elementary school student a number of lifesaving disciplines. Her programs reached as far as East Naples Manatee schools, Immokalee and the county's Everglades facility for corrections.
"We're naming the pool for her many years of service and dedication to teaching kids to swim and drowning prevention," said Cindy Love, the Y's executive director. Love said Weiner was no longer teaching swimming but was still an integral part of the Y community.
As part of the Seaside Celebration, the Y honored a number of volunteers and installed the 2013 board of directors. Mel Ollman, architect of the Y's main building and long-time board member, was named a life trustee. He is the sixth trustee to be named in the past 20 years.
Roetzel & Andress, a law firm with office in Naples, was named the 2012 corporate partner of the year. Shirley Trebilcock was given the Y's philanthropy award.
Steve Stefanides and Skip Merriam received special recognition for volunteering and for the "wise counsel" each had given the board. Chris Kleine, president of American Computer Solutions, became the Y's Unsung Hero.
William Laimbeer, Sr., received commendations as Humanitarian of the Year. He is currently serving as the board's vice president of financial development. Allyson Richards, the board's special events coordinator, was honored as the Y's Golden Warrior. Tim Truesdell received the President's Award, and maintenance supervisor Peter Sancton was named Employee of the Year.
The Y's incoming board president is Tiffany Homuth of Mutual of Omaha Bank. Kleine will be president elect, Joe Granda, treasurer and Gladyvette Benarroch, secretary. Ed Walsh was installed as vice president of planning and facilities with Dick Shanahan as vice president of community relations.
Ashley Lupo will serve on the board as immediate past president. Other board members include Rob Asbell, Scott Campbell, Charlie Frank, Joe Hausauer, Fritzi Holmes, Linda Keutmann, Bill Morris, Mary Quinton, Roger Raymond, John Ritchie, George Schroll, Marco Island Police Officer Al Schettino, Rashmi Sharma, Janusz Subczynski, Chuck Thomas, Carl Titgemeier, Truesdell and Andrea Washau.
"This is an exciting time in Y history," Love said. "This board has lots of energy, new ideas and dedicated volunteers." In 2013, the Y will be working through strategic plans to determine the requirements for capital expansion, she said.