YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – This week’s Hometown Hero is enjoying his retirement, but his heart remains with the Youngstown YMCA.

Recently retired Mike Shaffer dedicated his life’s work at the YMCA to all of the children.

He said his goal for the 37 years he worked there — the past 25 as executive director — was to keep it strong and alive, especially for the children.

“We like to see kids come in and have a positive experience, maybe their first competitive experience. We love to see kids learn how to swim. It literally could save their lives at some point,” Shaffer said.

Tim Butler, Jr., a YMCA employee, said Shaffer was an excellent boss.

“There’s no one like Mike. If you can’t love Mike, you can’t love nobody! Mike is a great guy, a great, great guy,” Butler said.

One of Shaffer’s special projects this past summer was setting up swim classes at the Northside Pool. He made sure the kids had all the equipment they needed, especially swim goggles.

“It was unacceptable to us that kids in the inner city are seven times more likely to drown. We said that’s not good, so we went up there all summer long. Lots of kids learned how to swim, how to be safe around the water,” Shaffer said.

Shaffer also worked closely with Potential Development.

He now plans to travel but said he’ll be back to volunteer at the YMCA.

You can also catch Shaffer with his group, The Shaffer Brothers, around town with their Irish music. He plays a mean accordion!