CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Recently named chief executive officer Monty Warner officially began his new role at the YMCA of Kanawha Valley on Saturday.

“We’re strong and we’re getting stronger,” Warner told MetroNews Friday about his plan to get more involved with the community.

Warner, a Charleston native, will take over for current interim CEO Tara Bailey. Longtime CEO John Giroir resigned last May.

“Some of the things we need to do is we need to push out and become more engaged in the community. We got problems and we can help with those problems,” he said.

Warner said they already emphasize ‘family involvement’ with a significant number of seniors, folks on insurance plans to work on weight management with personal trainers and offer after-school programs.

“There’s really nothing that competes head-to-head with what the YMCA does. We provide a service to the valley that’s different than what anybody else does, but we need to be better at marketing and showing what it is we do,” he said.

The main goal is to get more people involved with what the YMCA does by projecting all the programs available.

He said the YMCA plays a big role in some of the issues West Virginians face today such as childhood obesity, high drug overdose deaths, economic problems and even a high divorce rate.

“We address all those problems in the various programs that we offer here,” Warner said.

The YMCA offers scholarship programs for those who may not have the means to use the facilities. He said they work to raise money to help everyone gain that access.

They’re looking to expand their programs and move beyond the walls of the current facility, so they can be of better assistance to everyone in the community, he said.

Warner has been teaching at George Washington High School as a JROTC instructor for the past seven years.

According to a news release, he served in the U.S. Army for 25 years. He was also the inspector general for the West Virginia National Guard. He also holds degrees from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the Naval Postgraduate School and Marshall University.

Warner ran for the Republican nomination for governor in 2004, but was beaten in the general election by U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin.

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