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Luzerne County Gym Has A Lot Of Olympic Pride

One gym in Luzerne County has two special ties to this year's Olympics. The YMCA in Hazleton is using the story about of a former employee as motivation for the entire community and his dad couldn't be happier.
(Hazleton, Luzerne County) - Bill Gerhard always knew his son Chad would be something special.

"We're trying to keep calm about it," Gerhard said. "But we want to call everybody and tell everybody because we're extremely proud."

Now a lot of other people are learning that as well.

"He's living the dream," Gerhard said of his son.

Chad, who grew up in Weatherly, Carbon County, is serving as the Strength and Conditioning coach of the United States Snowboarding halfpipe and Skiing Aerial Olympic teams. Chad's training athletes like Mac Bohonnon.

"He didn't learn it from me," Chad's father, Bill, joked. "He snowboarded his whole life!"

Chad, who went to Bloomsburg University and graduated with a degree in exercise science worked at the YMCA in Hazleton to support himself through college.

Chad's dad still works at the gym part-time.

"Everyday people are coming up to us and asking how he's doing," Gerhard said. "They're looking for pictures. They're following him as much as we are."

Officials at the gym have come up with a program modeled after Chad. It's called 18 Days On the Road to Sochi. It's designed to encourage people to chase their goals, just like Chad did.

"He just became the local hometown celebrity," Marianne Pinchard, Marketing Director of the Hazleton YMCA, said. "We're proud to have him. He's just been a boost for us."

Ryan Mariano, who's from Hazleton has gravitated towards Chad's story. He's using it for motivation to chase his own dreams.

"That's what i want to do," Mariano said. "I want to wake up everyday and say 'I love my job'."

While a lot of people are using Chad's story for motivation, he takes tremendous pride in the amount of support he's received.

"I have unbelievable support from those guys back home," Chad said. "They've been calling me everyday! "

"We couldn't be any prouder," Chad's father, Bill, said.
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