Staff Spotlight: February Love Stories — Georgette & Tony Butler

Georgette, Brooks Family YMCA Group Fitness Coordinator, coordinates a group exercise schedule that encompasses 92 land and water based classes. 

Tony serves as the Property Manager of North Jacksonville and Nassau County YMCAs, including the YMCA Tiger Academy Charter School, Johnson Family YMCA, YMCA at Wildlight and McArthur Family YMCA.  

Military Meeting

Tony and Georgette have a 48 year combined military service career with the United States Navy (27 for Tony and 21 for Georgette). They met March 1985 on Diega Garcia, a remote British-owned island in the Indian Ocean and married two years later in Cleveland, Ohio July 1987. 

Diego Garcia is where Georgette found her love of teaching group fitness classes to a captive audience of military personnel mandated to attend Physical Readiness Training. 

In 1996, both Tony and Georgette transferred to Afloat Training Group, Mayport in Jacksonville, Florida.  Tony’s duties, which included ship inspections, required many days deployed away from home.  Georgette, though on “shore duty,” responsibilities required many long hours in support of ship operations and manpower.

Their Y Story

In search of an opportunity for physical fitness and knowing the base gym/fitness center did not allow children, Georgette recalled her membership with the YMCA in Cleveland, Ohio.  With Anthony and Jordan in tow, she found the Arlington YMCA, formerly located on Fort Caroline Rd.  

The Y became her salvation, support, and family. The dedicated and loving individuals in Kidzone nurtured and cared for Anthony and Jordan as if they were their own. They helped them with homework, social interaction skills and taught them the importance of being part of a team. Anthony and Jordan both learned how to swim and play basketball at the Arlington Y.  Later, Anthony joined the swim team and a lifeguard. 

“I sometimes look back and wonder what would we have done without the Y,” said Georgette.

Looking Forward

In 2025, the couple will celebrate 40 years together. Many of their first 20 years were spent apart due to our military obligations. Nothing could ever diminish or replace the pride and honor they have expressed serving their country. Now, they share pride and honor in serving their community through the Y, an organization that gave to them in their time of need.