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Y honors Shaw donation with sculpture dedication

Published: Friday, May 24, 2013 11:37 a.m. CST • Updated: Friday, May 24, 2013 11:45 a.m. CST
(Nicole Wiegand/Daily News)
The 4-year-old YMCA childcare class helps Executive Director Tom Vanderlaan (right) and artist Nick Klepinger (back left) unveil the statue "The Reading Lesson," outside the Newton YMCA on Thursday afternoon. The statue was funded through a donation from the late E.K. Shaw and his wife, Nancy.
(Frank Buckley/Special to the Daily News)
Following a dedication ceremony at the Newton YMCA, Executive Director Tom Vanderlaan, artist Nick Klepinger, who designed the piece, and Nancy Shaw, who donated the piece, look at the installed piece "The Reading Lesson."

While the YMCA’s presence in Newton was largely due to the generosity of the Maytag family, another set of donors also set forth a monumental endeavor for the Y.

In 2008, Nancy and the late E.K. Shaw, former publisher of the Newton Daily News, donated $750,000 that eventually would be used to remodel the east wing of the Newton Y for the YCC childcare program as well as the playground just to the east. 

“(One) community leader saw the value of the Newton YMCA and made a donation three times the size of Mr. Maytag’s,” Newton YMCA Executive Director Tom Vanderlaan said. “That community leader was the late E.K. Shaw, longtime newspaper man, family man and philanthropist.” 

“We gather here today to commemorate and say ‘thank you’ for E.K. and Nancy Shaw’s gift, and to share with the community what their gift, like Mr. Maytag’s, will mean for future Jasper County residents,” he added. 

“Perhaps the most remarkable thing spurred by the Shaws’ gift was bringing our family under one roof,” Vanderlaan said of the wing that now houses the YCC program. “Where once tables were placed for meeting rooms, now there are toddlers playing, babies crawling, preschoolers learning their ABCs and school-age kids growing and developing friendships that will last a lifetime.”

Thursday afternoon, the final piece of the puzzle funded by the Shaws was unveiled just outside the doors to the childcare wing — a statue titled “The Reading Lesson” by local artist Nick Klepinger depicting a child lost in a book, his dog at his side. 

“The statue, ‘The Reading Lesson,’ which was donated by Nancy Shaw, truly captures the spirit and youthfulness of our childcare center, and perhaps, more importantly, the essence of friendship E.K. had with former executive director Marv Zimmermann,”  Vanderlaan said.

Zimmermann was executive director of the YMCA from 1976 to 2001.

Nancy Shaw, who was in attendance for the dedication and statue unveiling ceremony, expressed her pleasure with the childcare center, noting that those in charge of  the program “just do a wonderful job.” She also noted that Klepinger crafted four miniature versions of the statue — one for herself and each of her sons. 

“Thank you, Nancy,” Vanderlaan said, closing the ceremony. “E.K. and you will always hold a special place in our hearts here at the Newton YMCA.” 

Staff writer Nicole Wiegand may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 422, or at nwiegand@newtondailynews.com.