Lester DuGuay: 60 years of dedicated service to youth sports

On Tuesday, July 2nd, City Hall Council Chambers resonated with applause and heartfelt tributes as Mayor Eddie Morán presented Lester DuGuay with a commendation for his 60 years of unwavering service to the youth of Reading. The ceremony, held on DuGuay’s 89th birthday, celebrated his extensive contributions to local sports and the indelible impact he has had on generations of young athletes.

DuGuay’s illustrious career began in 1969 when he, alongside his wife Joyce, founded the Northwest Athletic Association, offering football, baseball, and cheerleading programs. Over the decades, he extended his commitment to the Reading American Little League and the Reading Girls Softball Association, helping to instill values such as teamwork, respect, and sportsmanship in countless youth.

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“Your tireless efforts have shaped countless young lives. We honor you as a forever coach whose impact will be felt for generations to come,” stated Mayor Morán during the dedication ceremony. The commendation recognized DuGuay’s relentless dedication to creating a safe, healthy environment where young people could develop life skills and forge lasting memories.

Crystal Gilmore-Harris, presenting DuGuay with a certificate from Pennsylvania Senator Judy Schwank, shared a personal testament to his influence. “I am who I am because of the DuGuay’s,” she said. “The DuGuay’s came into my life when I was five years old. I am no fifty five. I’ve been coaching since I was eighteen and I don’t consider myself just another coach; I consider myself one of his daughters.”

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Gilmore-Harris highlighted DuGuay’s enduring encouragement and the powerful role he and his wife played in her life. “I am just so honored to be in a position to honor you and express my gratitude for your passion and the impact you’ve had on my life. I never felt like there wasn’t something I couldn’t accomplish because you and your wife were always there to remind me who I am, what I stand for, and what I can be. I’ve been trying to retire from coaching for the past 10 years, but every time I do, I think of your wife saying, ‘you can’t quit, those kids need you’ that’s what they stood for.”

DuGuay expressed his gratitude and reflections on his journey. “Seeing the kids grow up keeps me going. I see them when they are little, teenagers to fathers who bring their kids back,” he remarked after the ceremony. “It’s been a wonderful time and I want to say thank you. Remember, treat everyone equally.”

From his beginnings as a young husband and father motivated by his sons’ participation in sports, to his later years contributing to Muhlenberg Township’s team sports programs, DuGuay’s legacy is one of selfless service and profound community impact. As Reading celebrates his contributions, Lester DuGuay stands as a testament to the enduring power of dedication and the positive influence one individual can have on countless lives.

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