Artie Woods is accustomed to big numbers. He’s 76 years young, he’s worked in law enforcement for 39 years, and he’s been a YMCA member for 34 years. Throughout his career, he has shared a message with thousands of students that emphasizes the importance of getting a good education, being a good citizen, and staying away from drugs.
This friendly man, who has never met a stranger, had a scare in 2016 when he passed out cold. Tests revealed that his heart had 70-90% blockages in five arteries that led to bypass surgery and subsequent rehab. Of course, he doesn’t do anything small. After his rehab at the hospital ended, he came to the Y where he doubled rehab exercises. Now he says, “I feel like the bionic man with no super powers.”
Artie has always strived to make a difference. That drive beams forth to this day, as he is energized by people and making a positive impact.
“I was on the band wagon fighting drugs long before that was cool. Drugs take smart people and make them average and it’s downhill from there. Drugs are like a rock thrown in a puddle. A person who does drugs has bigger and bigger and bigger problems.”
While Artie clearly loves kids, he enjoys interacting with adults as well. He says, “All grown ups are is big kids. I have as much fun with adults as kids, especially the older ones.” He is very thankful for all of the friends he’s made all over the world.
“Sometimes adults get the urge to exercise and then they go out and do too much. Then they hurt and quit. You have to continue to exercise to be healthy. We can be our own best friend or worst enemy. No excuse is worth your life.”
He speaks from experience. After his heart surgery, he had his gall bladder removed in June 2017. He returned to Y promptly afterward.
Artie Woods is pure sunshine walking into the Wichita Falls YMCA. When he strolls up to the check-in desk, the staff already knows he wants locker #47. He gives smiles and receives plenty in return. He is a vital part of the YMCA family!