BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — A veil of sadness covered the YMCA of Southern West Virginia on Monday, October 16, 2023.
A familiar face was missing, that of 67-year-old Al Leftwich, a longtime Y trainer who died unexpectedly at home on Friday, according to coworkers.
“Anyone that came to the Y, knew Al immediately,” YMCA-SWV Chief Operating Officer Mat Bishop said. “He greeted you at the door, he greeted you in class, and he would tell you that pain is weakness leaving the body. And then he just constantly…Al’s big saying was, ‘All day, all day,’ so he would tell you to hit it, all day.”
Leftwich had suffered a stroke recently, and Bishop said he was amazed by the outpouring of support he had received.
Following the stroke, he came back to the Y, where he had resumed teaching classes and exercising, along with encouraging Y members to meet their fitness goals.
Y members said it was that spirit which pushed hundreds, if not thousands, of people to become the best version of themselves.
“Well, I met Al about a year or two ago, when I started coming and working out, and I didn’t know anything, and, of course, Al, being Al, he showed everybody everything,” said Christian Ward, a student at West Virginia University-Institute of Technology. “He was always a helping hand, he was a really great member of the Y, always happy, had a smile on his face, he was just a really great guy, all around.”
Co-workers said they could count on Al to make sure they hit the gym and that he often stopped by to brighten their day.
“He was just always so good to everybody,” said Raven Baldwin, a desk attendant. “He comes and keeps me company up here at the desk. It’s just, it’s just really hard.”
Those at the YMCA said it is Al’s spirit of compassion, integrity, motivation and inspiration that will help them make it through their loss.
There will be a candlelight vigil on October 26, 2023 at 8 p.m. at the Church of God Family Worship Center located at 224 Pinewood Drive in Beckley. Candles will be provided, however those who attend are welcome to bring gold balloons to release.
Memorial services are scheduled for October 27, 2023 at 11 a.m., at Family Worship Center in Beckley, with the funeral at 1 p.m.
Cards for Leftwich’s family may be dropped at the YMCA of Southern West Virgina in Beckley.