SAN DIEGO — Tim Ney, the executive director of the Armed Services YMCA, is a retired, decorated Marine who has dedicated his life to serving others.

FOX 5 met up with him at the newly installed Marine Memorial in Mission Valley’s Civita Park for a conversation as part of our ongoing series, Veterans Voices.

Ney hasn’t been active-duty since 2013, but in his position at ASYMCA San Diego, he continues to serve his brothers and sisters in uniform. It’s no surprise he would choose a life of service if you look at his family tree.

“My dad served 33 years in the United States Marine Corps,” Ney told FOX 5. “My family lineage goes back to Normandy and I have a son, today, in the United States Navy, and my nephew is also in the Navy.”   

Ney was part of the USMC Force Reconnaissance, one of the Marine Corps’ elite special operations forces — highly skilled and trained in all forms of tactical warfare. But he is also humble and hard-pressed to speak about his accomplishments.

“I was fortunate to be a Force Reconnaissance Marine, which is an elite force inside the Marines. However, every Marine has their job and every job is important,” he told FOX 5. “‘Force recon on the green side’ means intelligence behind enemy lines, and as you might imagine, ‘black side’ or ‘black ops’ means something else: Hostage rescue, something of that nature, or the assault on Osama bin Laden.”

“I’m most proud of walking across a parade deck and having my dad standing on the other side saying, ‘You know son, we are father and son, but now we’re brothers.’”  

Now, he says, he has his second favorite job, serving the unique challenges of military personnel and their families: everything from family and youth enrichment, respite care and helping run operations like the ASYMCA’s Horse Of The Sun Ranch.

He knows the struggles some San Diego service members are going through firsthand.

“There’s a lot of shadows for our veterans, and every veteran — no matter where they serve — they all have their own story in their own personal struggle,” Ney said. “It takes a lot to give up your freedom to serve this country to ensure that we guard our legacy for Americans.

Ney spoke with FOX 5’s Misha DiBono on the day the nation marked 20 years since 9/11.

“We, as a country, really need to wrap our arms around our veterans and our military. I’m actually really proud as a veteran to see America and how much it embraces days like today,” Ney said. “There’s never enough that we can do for our military friends and their families. We like to say, ‘The service member enlists but the whole family serves.’”