After twelve years of dedicated service to the Columbus Young Men’s Christian Association, Corey Connor will be moving on to new opportunities in Baton Rouge, LA.
Connor, who first began work at the Y under the leadership of Charlie Box in the 1990s, feels as though he is leaving more than a job. He said that the staff of the Y feels more like a family than simply co-workers. Connor grew up in Columbus and often spent time at the Y
“The Y has been like a second home to me,” Connor said.
Connor, enthusiastic and energetic to a fault, began his tenure at the Y performing simple tasks, like picking up loose towels and taking out the trash, but his natural outgoing nature, his aptitude for picking up new skills, and his habit of always arriving to work early lead him to greater responsibilities.
Connor’s normal responsibilities at the YMCA included greeting the public as they entered, making rounds of the facility to make sure every one visiting was safe and comfortable, operating the computerized membership system, and making sure that all members were happy and looked after.
YMCA executive director Andy Boyd was fond of Connor and appreciative of his dedication.
“He wasn’t afraid of anything,” Boyd said. “Always gave it a whirl. You can count on Corey, always.”
In addition to his normal duties, Connor was an active participant in the YMCA Zumba program and even began working for charity donations by placing a plastic bucket by the Y’s main desk to collect tabs from aluminum cans.
Connor had his own particular endearing idiosyncrasies and habits which endeared him to YMCA staff and members. In particular, he was known for always leaving for lunch at precisely 11 a.m. and consuming heroic amounts of coffee, sometimes over two pots in a single day, earning him the title “Coffee Man” from YMCA wellness director Melissa Parsons. Parsons interacted with Connor regularly and greatly appreciated his dedication to helping all others, not just those at the Y.
Parsons recalled that Connor made a habit of taking her son out to lunch and paying for his meals each time. She appreciated this kindness, but did not know exactly how much of himself Connors had been giving. On a particularly difficult day for Parsons’ son, she decided to let him decide where to eat out of their usual choices. Parsons’ son, Tommy, chose Portabellas, revealing that Connor had been treating Parsons’ son to the nicest restaurants in the area and thought nothing of it.
“That’s just how generous Corey is,” Parsons said. “Corey has always been a great friend to me and my son.”
Connor’s habit of eating out made him friends all across Columbus. Connor was well-known by most local restaurant employees, who knew him so well, they could place his order the moment he walked in the door.
Perry Hendrix, program/aquatics director also spoke highly of Connor. “He was always reliable and dependable,” Hendrix said. “You could set your clock by him. If he said he was going to be somewhere by a certain time, he was going to be there. He was a human clock.”
“Corey never said anything bad about anybody at any time,” Hendrix said. He’s always had a positive outlook on everybody.”
Connor was also known for his “Corey-isms,” phrases he was famous for saying on a regular basis. Among the most popular “Corey-isms” are “Incoming!”, “Not a chance,” “I’m on it,” “Chow!”, “Gone!” and “You betcha!”
Connor will be leaving for Louisiana in order to be closer to his family, especially his brother, John-Powell.
“The truth of why I’m leaving? Its mostly because of my brother and sister-in-law,” Connor said. “Its a family thing.”
Connor’s closest family, his brother and grandmother, had to make a six-hour trip in order to visit him, something they and Connor decided would need to change. Connor hopes that this move will make them “closer as a family unit.”
“We tied in our staff Christmas party in with a special going away party for him,” Hendrix said. “During that, he expressed his love for the Y and he shared how much he cared and how he. . . lost his parents when he was young and his grandfather. He said that the Y Family was his family, that it would be hard for him to leave, but he needed to be closer to [his family]. Who’s to say that he may not move back in a couple of years?”
Connor has been in communication with the YMCA in Baton Rouge and is working toward employment there.
“I’m looking into something similar,” Connor said. “Putting in new members and adding people to new programs, but I‘d be happy with volunteering.”
“Everybody liked him,” Hendrix said. “I’ve had several hear that he’s leaving and be disappointed, sorry to see him leave. The people that knew Corey felt a real good friendship with him because he was always such a friendly guy.”0