YMCA of Greater Des Moines - The Impact of Giving
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Barb and Bill Keck
Barb and Bill Keck
Bill and Barb Keck Pass on Their Passion for the Y to the Next Generation

Words sometimes fall short, unable to adequately describe life's journeys. Such is the case with Bill and Barb Keck as they reflect on their nearly four decades of involvement with the YMCA of Greater Des Moines. Countless hours of devoted service and years of family memories leave them almost speechless—but not quite. Eager to convey all that the Y offers to families and youth, Bill and Barb readily share their cherished memories and why they were certain to include the Y in their estate plan.

Growing Up With the Y
Bill's childhood included 15 straight years of Y Camp, first as a camper and later as a counselor. He also participated in the HiY program at his junior high and high schools in Des Moines and says it's this program that "truly cemented" him to the Y.

He met Barb at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, where Barb says "all Bill talked about was Y Camp!" Once married, they settled in Des Moines, Bill working for the family business, Keck Parking Inc., and Barb teaching elementary school.

Three children completed their family: Joan, Cindy and Dave. Starting in 1973, Bill and Barb began taking their children to Y Family Camp every summer. Today, three generations of Kecks—Bill, Barb, their adult children and 12 grandkids—enjoy Y Family Camp together. Many of their children and grandchildren also carry a torch for the Y, serving in a variety of capacities, including swimming instructor and Y Camp board member.

A Lifetime of Service
Bill and Barb have never wavered in their devotion to the Y. In 1969, Bill helped establish the South Suburban Y branch. He served many terms on the South Suburban Y board and as chairman of that board as well. Among his many other Y endeavors, Bill also served on the Y Camp board and as co-chair of the South Suburban Y swimming pool capital campaign.

As far back as they can remember, Bill and Barb have been involved in the Y Service Club, a group to which Bill's father belonged back in the 1940s. They continue to sell Christmas trees every year at the Y Service Club's tree lot, which supports youth programs at the South Suburban Y.

A Meaningful Legacy
Through the Heritage Club, the Kecks hope to leave a legacy that will continue to strengthen youth programs that develop character in kids. They contribute to the Pugh Endowment Fund annually and, in their will, have designated a percentage of their estate for the Y.

"We hope the kids of today and tomorrow can continue with the same programs and ideals we grew up with," Bill says. "Our children benefited from exposure to the Y principles. They learned how to be leaders and the importance of volunteering. We want all kids to experience these same good things."

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