Inspiration in our Midst: The YMCA Plans Bench Press Contest Honoring Dan Whitzel

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Dan Whitzel was born in Baltimore, Maryland. As a young man, his Christmas present was a Y membership. Dan practically lived at the Y, lifting weights and building muscle, going every day. When he entered service in the Navy he found a Y wherever the ship docked and was training for the Olympics before long. In the 70s, Dan competed in the Mr. Maryland contest, missing first place by one point and securing second place.

Once he and his family settled in Easton, Dan became a member of the Easton Family YMCA. In the 1980’s Dan lifted at the Y and noticed a lack of equipment as he was working with a young man showing him how to do leg work. With the permission of Mr. Barton, the CEO at that time, they found equipment in closets and materials they could use to build squat racks. Dan started organizing weight lifting meets at the Y to raise money for more equipment and became the Chair of the Weightlifting committee. He helped the Y provide for the growing community of body builders and weight lifters. Dan has always passed on his passion for fitness by helping his children find their forms of fitness that they enjoyed. Not stopping there, he has helped countless young people develop routines based on their individual goals.

By far Dan’s biggest cheerleader in life is his wife Beverly, who has been by his side throughout every trial in their lives. They met in Baltimore when he was training to compete in a Mr. Adonis meet and she was competing in a beauty contest. At her brother’s suggestion she introduced herself but Dan was in the middle of a workout and when she said hi he practically ignored her. Beverly thought that was the end, but the next day he was at her door and they have been together ever since. They have been married for 57 years and have five children.

Dan, at 80 years young, had brain surgery this past January. He still tries to lift and though the weights are smaller, the commitment is larger than life. It is a passion he will have forever and he is very excited to see lifting competitions at the Easton Y again.

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