The Rev. Dean Pfeffer was honored March 4.
Whenever the Plant City Family YMCA needs volunteer help, few are as quick to answer the call as the Rev. Dean Pfeffer.
Hope Lutheran Church’s senior pastor, who has been involved with the Y’s board of directors for the last six years, is a staple at nearly every YMCA-sponsored event in the community and his efforts were officially recognized March 4 when he was given the Plant City Y’s Volunteer of the Year award.
Pfeffer and 13 others from the Tampa Metropolitan YMCA network were recognized at the annual Volunteer of the Year dinner.
Involved as he is with just about every facet of the Plant City Y, Pfeffer said this was something he didn’t see coming at all.
“When Zach (Hilferding) told me, I was planning to meet with him to give him names to consider for the award,” Pfeffer said. “Getting that was not in my thoughts.”
It may have been a surprise to Pfeffer, but Membership Experience Director Bryan Cross called it an “easy choice.” Pfeffer, who recently completed his term as chairman of the board, is active with the Dean’s Ride and Strong Leader events and heads up the Healthy Living Committee. He is currently chairing the Parking Lot Committee for the duration of the Florida Strawberry Festival, which ends up being the Plant City Y’s most lucrative annual fundraising effort with a massive influx of festival-goers searching for the perfect parking spot.
He was on the search committee that brought Hilferding to Plant City several years ago and also helped hire new executive director Paul Conley. Cross noted Pfeffer is also adept at recruiting volunteer help from outside the Y.
“Volunteers like Dean really ensure that (‘strengthening the community’) happens,” Cross said.
One of Pfeffer’s favorite things to do for the Y is give back to the staff and board members for their hard work. Every December, Pfeffer opens Hope Lutheran’s doors to the folks from the Plant City Y for the annual staff meeting and a dinner cooked entirely by his wife, Liz.
“The staff at our Y, you can’t find a better bunch of people to be working and serving with,” Pfeffer said.
Pfeffer’s time as chairman may be over, but he plans to stay as involved as he possibly can with the community center he calls home as both a gym member and an active board member.
“We’re not a ‘swim gym,’” he said. “The Y is something special and I just want to further that within the Plant City community. It’s one of those places where everybody knows your name. You’re not just some body that walks in to work out… that’s a real special place.”