Person of the Month

by Sheryl Beadles

By Sheryl Beadles

Our Person of the Month for June is a graduate of Macon R-I High School and is a familiar face throughout Macon. Aside from being Director of the Longbranch YMCA for the past 20 years, she has volunteered with several organizations in the community.

Angie Prenger is the daughter of the late Jackie and Jim Petre (stepmom is Sheila Olson Petre). Her parents were both graduates of Atlanta C-3 and attended college at Northeast Missouri State University (now known as Truman State University). Prenger spent her earliest years living on the campus of the university. Her parents moved to St. Louis where Prenger lived until she was 9-years-old.

It was in the fifth grade when Prenger began school in Macon. Her parents decided St. Louis was too big a place to raise their family so they moved back closer to their roots. Prenger stated that she loved living in a small town. She feels a small town provides a safety not always found in a bigger community and she loves the close friendships she was able to make.

After graduation, Prenger followed in her parents’ footsteps and attended Northeast Missouri State University. She received a B.S.E. in Business Education from there then received a Masters in Business Administration from William Woods University. Going to college is the only time since Prenger first moved to Macon that she has left.

Following college, she taught for two years in the Business Department at Moberly High School. Prenger also worked in marketing and as the public relations officer at Macon-Atlanta State Bank. Each time she left in order to stay home with a baby. She and her husband, Kevin, have two daughters Amanda and Amelia.

While she was a stay-at-home mother, Dan Coons of the Macon Area Recreation Center Committee (became the YMCA Board of Directors) asked her to volunteer with the pool committee. She volunteered with the Board for two years before becoming employed as the first YMCA Director in 1998. Prenger stated that she feels both blessed and fortunate to have been on the ground floor of starting the YMCA. It was first located on Blees Drive where the current Literacy Center is now located. It was there for four years with 1,000 members. Prenger said a capital campaign raised over $1 million dollars to build the current facility. The YMCA is almost 200-years-old and is in 120 different countries. The Macon YMCA has its own independent charter.

Prenger explained that the YMCA Board is very frugal. The YMCA is debt-free and wants to stay that way as much as possible. When the new facility first opened, there was no elevator, no concrete parking lot, and rubber on the track. The Board spent only the money it could afford.

She feels the YMCA has participated in elevating the awareness of Macon area citizens of physical fitness. There are now 2700 members. Prenger said she is blown away with the support from the community.

“The YMCA still does a really good job of serving the whole community.” Prenger said.

Speaking with her, you can tell how passionate she is about the YMCA and her job. She wants people to realize the YMCA is much more than a fitness facility. It is a place with a Christian outlook where people care about one another. “I’m on a God mission,” Prenger stated. She said that her faith is very important to her and she feels called to the YMCA and feels blessed to serve the Lord through the YMCA.

Prenger emphasized that no one is turned away from the YMCA. There are assistant programs to help those who cannot afford the full price of the YMCA. There are also people who help provide scholarship for children who want to participate in programs such as soccer or basketball but whose parents cannot afford to pay the fees. She explained that the YMCA is a non-profit 501-C charitable organization that is completely driven and relies on volunteers to help with a lot of its programs. It also offers child care for busy parents who want to exercise but need someone to watch their little ones.

The YMCA is not the only organization on Prenger’s heart. She has been member of the Rotary Club of Macon for 15 years and served as President the past year. Prenger stated that Rotary is an organization with a drive to do well in the world. It currently has 47 members and continues to grow. They just re-established the Board and she will no longer be President, however, she feels she learned a lot by serving as President. She is excited about the new leadership that is about to come in.

One project the Rotary is working on and Prenger is thrilled about is making a walking trail around Blees Lake and possibly even farther. She said it would be great if the north and south sides of Macon could be connected in the future by a trail. Prenger also hopes in the future that the trail could be made into a walking trail and bike trail. She also mentioned that the Rotary has a Shrimp Fest on the third Saturday of each October and one of its biggest missions is to help provide clean water in third world countries. The motto of Rotary is “Making Life Better for People.” Prenger also said that she has made many friendships through Rotary.

Prenger has also served as the President of the Missouri State Alliance of YMCAs, which represents all 25 Corporate YMCAs in the state of Missouri.  Their vision is to leverage the collective strength of Missouri YMCAs to enrich the quality of life for all Missourians.

She also serves as the Vice-Chair of the US Mission Network Board of Management.  This is a national effort of YMCAs in America committed to preserving, nurturing and advancing the Christian heritage and purpose of the YMCA across America.

Prenger also want people to know “our YMCA Board and Staff are THE VERY committed to the Mission and our community!!”

Prenger is very close to her family. Beside her parents, she has three brothers: Shane Petre (wife Kelly), Tony Petre (wife Shelley) and Derek Petre (wife Betsy). Shane works for Petre Construction, Kelly works at Comfort Inn, Tony is an insurance agent at Petre Insurance, Shelley is a former teacher who writes curriculum now, Derek Petre is a Corps. Engineer and Betsy works in sports management for a college.

Prenger also has an 18-month-old grandson, Jack, whose parents are Jesse and Amanda Halley (who works full-time at Prenger’s). Amelia attended CMU and received a degree in child and family psychology and works as a Preschool teacher at CCDC in Macon.

Prenger stressed the importance of nurturing your spirit, mind and body. She said it takes a balanced, intentional approach to spiritual growth such as church, following a role model, reading books and listening to inspirational music and programs. All of these things will help you develop a relationship with God (our culture often overlooks the spiritual part of a person). She said that we never stop learning and that knowledge is power. It is also important not to overlook the basics when it comes to taking care of your body.

Prenger wants her life to role model her love for Christ. She wants to grow in her daily faith and accept people of all faiths.