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Man behind Y land donation dies

Man behind Y land donation dies
Man behind Y land donation dies
Dennis O. Jenkins (click for larger version)

Dennis O. Jenkins, the businessman who, along with his family donated the land where the YMCA of Harrison County is built, died Tuesday, March 20, 2012, at Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services in New Albany. He was 68.
‘When I heard that Dennis had passed away, my first reaction was that I wished I had stopped into Arc Weld again and thanked him,’ Catherine Turcotte, who helped spearhead the building of the Y in Corydon. ‘Every time I drive by Arc Weld, which is several times each week, I always smile and think of the generosity of Dennis and Kathy Jenkins. A few times, in recent months, I thought about going in and saying thanks one more time … I wish I had.’
The Jenkins family donated the acreage, located east of their welding business, in May 2001.
‘I will never forget the day … when Jill Robinson and Wylie Zeigler, board members of the YMCA, spent a morning going door-to-door along Highway 135,’ Turcotte said. ‘They stopped into Arc Weld and met Dennis for the first time, told him about the campaign to build the YMCA, and were hoping to come away with a few hundred dollars. Instead, he offered them 15 acres of land, which is the land the YMCA is built on. The land was valued by an appraiser at more than a half-million dollars … and he and Kathy gave it away, so cheerfully and without a big fanfare.
‘Dennis Jenkins’ generosity touched so many lives,’ she said. ‘He listened to the dream of a YMCA as presented by Jill and Wylie, and he was inspired to make a difference, right then and there. He was a hard-working man, a man who loved his family and who shared the fruits of his success with a whole community, and did so with such humility and grace. He did not seem to take pride in his gift or to desire recognition. He truly only wanted God to get the glory.’
In the lobby of the YMCA, which opened in 2004, hangs a ‘Success’ poster that was made to honor the Jenkins family’s gift to the Y. Turcotte said it describes, in Dennis and Kathy’s own words, what they believe and how they lived their life. It talks about passing it on and how God has a plan for everyone.
When fire destroyed the Arc Weld building in September, Jenkins said he received phone calls from competitors asking what they could do to help. The business pulled half of its welding supply inventory from its Mitchell store while it relocated the Corydon shop to a nearby site. Arc Weld was back to normal day-to-day operations in about two weeks after the fire.
Jenkins’ funeral service was Friday at Kraft Funeral Services in New Albany.