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inside p.12

Aug./Sept. 2013 4 Calendar 7 News and Information from the City of Pickerington 9 News and Information from Violet Township 12

faces War Stories

Aspiring Eagle Scout works to document and tell veterans’ tales

13

in focus Hope Springs Eternal

Together or separate, high school service groups provide assistance

14

shutterbugs

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On the Cover

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Healthy New Albany Magazine www.HealthyNewAlbanyMagazine.com The Publisher welcomes contributions in the form of manuscripts, drawings, photographs or story ideas to consider for possible publication. Enclose a SASE with each submission or email gbishop@cityscenemediagroup.com. Publisher does not assume responsibility for loss or damage. The appearance of advertising in Pickerington Magazine does not constitute an endorsement of the advertiser’s product or service by the City of Pickerington. Pickerington Magazine is published in June, August, October, December, February and April. Subscriptions are free for households within the city limits of Pickerington, Ohio. For advertising information or bulk purchases, email Molly Pensyl at mpensyl@cityscenemediagroup.com. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written consent of the publishers. Pickerington Magazine is a registered trademark of CityScene Media Group. Printed in the U.S.A.

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community calendar Mark your calendar for these community events AUGUST 2013 Aug. 1-Sept. 26 Olde Pickerington Farmers’ Market 4-7 p.m., Thursdays, 89 N. Center St., Olde Pickerington Village, www. pickeringtonvillage.com Pickerington’s first-ever farmers’ market features items from local farmers, bakers and artisans. Aug. 2-16 Friday Night Flicks Dusk, Fridays, Sycamore Park, 500 Hereford Dr., www.pickerington.net Featuring National Treasure on Aug. 2, Hook on Aug. 9 and The Odd Life of Timothy Green on Aug. 16. Free. Aug. 3 Free Fun Party Noon-5 p.m., Pickerington Senior Center, 150 Hereford Dr., www.pickeringtonseniorcenter.org This party for kids features

ton Public Library, 201 Opportunity Way, www. pickeringtonlibrary.org Children ages 5-10 have Aug. 4-18 Summer Concert Series the opportunity to read to 7-8:30 p.m., Sycamore therapy dogs. Park, 500 Hereford Dr., Aug. 16 Family Luau Night www.pickerington.net Featuring Ray Fuller on 6-9 p.m., Pickerington Aug. 4, Paradise Island on Community Pool, Aug. 11 and the British 11330 Stonecreek Dr., Invasion on Aug. 18. Free. www.pickerington.net Celebrate the end of sumAug. 10 mer vacation with a luau Youth Fishing Derby 9:30-11 a.m., Sycamore night at the pool. Park, 500 Hereford Dr., Aug. 19-22 www.pickerington.net First Day of School The city’s annual fishing Grades 1-12 start Aug. derby offers prizes for the 19; kindergarten starts biggest fish caught by kids Aug. 22 14 and under. No entry Aug. 22. fee, registration is required The 3-C Highway Band and participants must 5:30 p.m., Pickerington bring their own equipment Senior Center, 150 and bait. Hereford Dr., www.pickAug. 13 eringtonseniorcenter.org Summer Dog Tales A dinner buffet precedes 6-7:30 p.m., Pickering- the concert. carnival rides, hot dogs, cotton candy, lemonade and iced tea.

SEPTEMBER 2013 Sept. 2 Labor Day Parade and Fish Fry 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Victory Park, 100 Lockville Rd., www.pickeringtonoh. lionwap.org The parade kicks things off at 10 a.m., and the fish fry – also featuring inflatable games, local entertainment and a raffle – begins at 11. Sept. 2 Dog Splash Noon-5 p.m., Pickerington Community Pool, 11330 Stonecreek Dr., www.pickerington.net Dogs are welcome to take a dip in the pool. Proof of vaccinations required. Sept. 12 Founders’ Day Banquet 6:30 p.m., location TBA, www.pickeringtonhistoricalsociety.com Reservations are required for the 27th

annual Founders’ Day Banquet, organized by the Pickerington-Violet Township Historical Society. Sept. 13 PACC Golf Outing Noon-6 p.m., Pine Hill Golf Course, 4382 Kauffman Rd. NW., Carroll, www.pickeringtonchamber.com The Pickerington Area Chamber of Commerce presents its 25th annual golf outing, with a cash prize for the winning foursome. Sept. 14 Olde Pickerington Village BeanFest See below. Sept. 17 Pickerington Public Library Book Club 7-8:30 p.m., Pickerington Public Library, 201 Opportunity Way, www. pickeringtonlibrary.org The club discusses The

Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian. Sept. 24 Not Your Mother’s Library Book Club 7-8:30 p.m., Pickerington Public Library, 201 Opportunity Way, www. pickeringtonlibrary.org The club, open to teens and adults who love to read, discusses Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Sept. 27-29 Civil War Symposium: Vicksburg & Gettysburg Sherman House Museum, 137 E. Main St., Lancaster, www. fairfieldheritage.org At the Fairfield Heritage Association’s annual symposium, speakers will discuss whether either of the above battles was a game-changer in the Civil War.

Keen on Beans By Eric Lagatta

Chili cook-off returns with a vengeance for its second go ’round

Making chili is a relatively new endeavor for Jim McSkimin – he only began making it a year ago – but he seems to be a natural. At the first Olde Pickerington Village BeanFest last November, the 35-year Pickerington resident took home the top prize in the cook-off for judges’ choice, with a nod as a runner-up in people’s choice. This year, he is returning to defend his title. “I was pretty much floored,” McSkimin says of winning last year. “It’s always nice to win the big one.” Organized and sponsored by the Olde Pickerington Village Business Association, this year’s BeanFest will take place 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 14, between Columbus and Center streets in Olde Pickerington Village. Though there are multiple attractions on the festival schedule, the cook-off is unquestionably the main event. www.pickeringtonmagazine.com

Approximately 12 amateur chili cooks will compete for people’s choice and judges’ choice. McSkimin makes a sweeter chili called Havana Moon Chili, a Cuban-influenced recipe with turkey, pork, beef and hints of cinnamon. Without divulging too many secrets, he says he may return with the same recipe this year, but there are likely to be some updates. “I may doctor it up a little,” he says, “make it a little spicier.” A panel of three judges – last year’s were Mayor Lee Gray, Councilwoman Cristie Hammond and Pickerington Lions Club President Brian Fox, but this year’s will be all new – gives out the prestigious judges’ award. Anyone can participate in voting for the people’s choice winner for free by signing in before the cook-off and getting a ballot. “Anybody who likes chili is welcome to vote,” says Peggy Portier, director-atlarge of OPVBA.

Aspects of the Pickerington Violet Township Historical Society’s discontinued History Hop will factor into the event as well – an Abraham Lincoln impersonator, Civil War re-enactors and kids’ games from the 1800s are all on the agenda. Returning to the BeanFest will be sidewalk and yard sales and a performance by folk band Loosely Strung. The bean burrito eating contest from last year will not return. Eric Lagatta is a contributing writer. Feedback welcome at gbishop@city scenemediagroup.com 5


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INSIDE

PICKERINGTON

N E W S & I N F OR M AT I O N F R O M T H E C I T Y O F P I C K E R I NGT ON

A Night Out in the Violet City Pickerington residents can enjoy a free night out on the town as the city celebrates National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug. 6 at Victory Park. Pastor Adam Babcock of the Eastside Vineyard Church, organizer of the event, and committee members are hoping residents can get to know their neighbors and learn what the community has to offer to keep them safe. National Night Out, which was started by the National Association of Town Watch in 1984, is a community safety and awareness event that is held the first Tuesday in August. Pickerington’s two-hour Night Out begins at 7 p.m. “Our small mission statement is building our community … (and) strengthening our future,” said Babcock, the new president of the Pickerington Christian Ministerial Association. “The hope is just to bring the community together to talk about what has been going well and what areas we can really focus in on.” As part of the event, city, township and safety service representatives will briefly discuss opportunities within the community as well as some of the challenges Pickerington faces. Community resource organizations such as the PCMA Food Pantry of Pickerington, Pickerington Public Library, Pickerington Police Department and Violet Township Fire Department will have stations set up for the community to stop by and learn about the services they offer.

Summer Fun

Though summer is winding down, there are still plenty of red hot events in the city of Pickerington for the young and the young at heart. For music lovers, the 2013 Summer Concert Series offers three final free rockin’ programs. On Sunday, Aug. 4, Ray Fuller and the Bluesrockers takes the stage of the Sycamore Park Amphitheater at 7 p.m. with its “brand of low down gutsy blues and red hot rock ‘n’ roll.” It is paradise in the park on Sunday, Aug. 11 when Paradise Island plays and sings rock classics, Motown, blues and current hits. The British invade the concert series

www.pickeringtonmagazine.com

“The city, on a smaller scale, has been supported and involved with the National Night Out over the past few years. This year, more city officials have gotten involved and are working with Pastor Babcock and our friends at Eastside Vineyard Church to expand upon the community-building effects this positive event can have on our city and township residents,” said Pickerington City Manager Bill Vance. “Strengthening individual relationships, as well as the collective relationships between our community’s neighborhoods and their local and county emergency services personnel, is also a key priority.” To add to the festivities, two local bands – Cornerstone Reject and Yours for the Taking – will provide free entertainment. Hot dogs, water and soft drinks will also be served at no cost to the public. Committee member and Pickerington resident Frank Sclafani started a neighborhood watch group in his subdivision and set up community meetings in 2009 shortly after his home was hit by a van. As a result of the traumatic event, Sclafani got to know his neighbors even better and meet some that he did not know. It is his hope that the Night Out will prompt other neighborhoods to form their own watch groups and hold meetings to help one another. “If we are all standing together, it’s more of a deterrent to crime. We’re the eyes and the ears of the community,” said Sclafani, a Columbus police officer.

on Sunday, Aug. 18 with the “ultimate tribute to 1960s British rock” when the British Invasion takes over the stage. Young fishermen and gals will be swapping fish stories at the Youth Fishing Derby on Saturday, Aug. 10. The derby, which is held at the Sycamore Park Pond for children ages 14 and under, begins at 9:30 a.m. Registration for the event is required by Aug. 8 and can be completed online at www.pickerington.net or by calling the Parks and Recreation department at 614-833-2111.

In addition to providing another set of eyes for the police department and Fairfield County Sheriff’s office, the Night Out is about getting to know your neighbors and helping those in need of assistance. “Our hope is, as we get outside of our homes, to get to know our neighbors better, just engage with them better, have some more freedom to do that as a community, and we’ll see some of these things being resolved,” Babcock said. The Pickerington Night Out committee hopes the first Night on the town in the Violet City becomes the spark that ignites neighborhoods so that next year, each subdivision will hold its own block party to get residents out to truly know their neighbors.

Awards for the most fish and the biggest fish caught will be presented in each of the four age divisions. Participants must bring their own equipment and secret bait. (continued)

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News and information from the City of Pickerington

citydirectory

“Summer” cont.

Pickerington City Hall, 100 Lockville Rd.

(All numbers prefixed with the 614 area code)

Building Department ................ 833-2221 City Council............................. 837-3974 City Manager........................... 837-3974 Development Department......... 833-2204 Engineering Department .......... 833-2221 Finance Department................. 837-3974 Human Resources.................... 837-3974 Income Tax Division.................. 837-4116 Mayor’s Office (Lee A. Gray)............................ 837-3974 Mayor’s Court.......................... 837-3974 Pickerington residents and their friends are able to take a plunge into the Pickerington Community Pool through Monday, Sept. 2, but when school is in session, the pool will only be open on weekends. Two special events will end the season with a splash. On Friday, Aug. 16, a family luau is planned from 6-9 p.m. The event is free to pool pass holders and $8 per person for non-members. Children 3 and under are free. For the dog days of summer, a pool pooch party is planned for Sept. 2. Bring

your dog’s rabies and current shot records and $5 per pooch, and your favorite canine can woof it up from noon to 5 p.m. Friday Night Flicks, sponsored by Fairfield Federal, will feature National Treasure on Aug. 2, Hook on Aug. 9 and The Odd Life of Timothy Green on Aug. 16. Bring your own blanket and lawn chair to the Sycamore Park Amphitheater and enjoy the big screen on the barn under the stars at dark.

Parks and Recreation............... 833-2211 Police Department.................... 575-6911 Service Department Streets.................................... 833-2292 Utility Billing............................. 833-2289 Utility Maintenance................... 833-2292 Water Plant.............................. 833-2290 Waste Water Plant.................... 837-6490 Water Reclamation.................. 837-6470

cityprofile:

Scott Tourville, City Engineer Scott Tourville has been designing roadways and managing construction, traffic and private utility work throughout Ohio for eight years. On May 15, his career path led him to Pickerington as the new city engineer. Tourville, who had served as a civil engineer for Westerville since 2007, was not looking to leave his position, but could not resist the opportunity to challenge himself and advance his career in “an awesome central Ohio community.” “So far, it has been everything I could have hoped for and more. The staff here is awesome to work with and have been very helpful in getting me up to speed. It’s been very exciting getting up to speed on all the projects and opportunities for improvements that are ongoing,” Tourville said. In addition to working for the city of Westerville, Tourville was a staff engineer for American Structurepoint, which designs roadways for clients throughout Ohio. 8

The Westerville native since age 4 earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and his master’s degree in public administration from Central Michigan University. “Scott Tourville was hired as the city engineer to bring his progressive and extensive local government engineering skills and experiences to Pickerington’s fast-moving local government organization,” said City Manager Bill Vance. “Since his arrival, I have witnessed his strong dedication to professionalism and maintaining high levels of customer service while actively contributing to the success of the team philosophy already in existence between Pickerington’s mayor, council and the

city’s responsible development and utility supporting departments.” Tourville indicated that Pickerington has a “solid foundation” and he plans to keep the city on the right path for residents and businesses. “I hope to provide the necessary leadership and engineering skills to help foster improvements in the community and keep it a wonderful place for people to live and work,” Tourville said.

www.pickeringtonmagazine.com


News and Information From

Violet Township By Chad Lucht, CPESC, Fairfield Soil and Water Conservation District

Waterway and Stream Maintenance Our community takes great pride in the overall quality of its waterways. Having healthy streams allows us to use them for fishing, exploration by our children and even joyful fun on a hot summer day. In an ongoing effort to maintain and to sustain our natural environment and, more importantly, prevent flooding, we would like to take this opportunity to remind all property owners whose property contains or borders a waterway – creek, stream, river, floodplain, etc. – of their civic duty to see that these areas remain free and clear of debris. The Township and City continue to be very concerned about the health, safety and property damage risks that occur when waterways are not properly maintained. However, we cannot do this alone. The Township and City take care of all waterways within public spaces and rights-of-way. In return, we recommend that each resident take the following steps to help ensure the overall quality of the community and our waterways. 1. Refrain from dumping yard waste such as grass clippings, raked leaves and cut limbs into a floodplain, on a stream bank or within a channel. Yard waste reduces the capacity of a waterway, which eventually leads to flooding. It also reduces the available oxygen for fish and other aquatic life by depleting the oxygen in the stream as it decays.

4. Small debris – any material that can be removed without the use of equipment – should be removed from the waterway immediately. 5. Fallen trees and other large debris in a floodplain should be removed or secured as soon as possible. Fallen trees or large debris within a stream should only be removed during low flow periods, which typically occur during late summer, autumn and winter. Extremely large logs and/or trees should be cut into manageable pieces and dragged out of the stream and above the floodplain.

2. Landowners whose property comes in contact with streams, creeks or rivers should conduct routine inspections each year to identify any fallen trees or other debris on their property that should be removed from their section of waterway or floodplain.

6. Do not backfill a floodplain or modify a waterway prior to consulting with the floodplain coordinator for your area, Ohio EPA and/or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Even the smallest of modifications can have a significant impact on property owners both upstream and downstream.

3. Special inspections should be made following large storm events, during which a large amount of debris is commonly deposited.

We hope that everyone will follow these steps so that we may continue to enjoy the natural beauty of our waterways now and for many years to come.

Drug & Electronic Event is a Success! By Joy Davis, CEcD, Violet Township Economic Development Specialist

www.pickeringtonmagazine.com

The drug and electronic collection event held April 27 at the Violet Township Service Center saw more than 200 vehicles during the three-hour collection period. Our residents dropped off 13,074 pounds of electronic equipment for recycling and contributed to the national prescription drug total of 371 tons. Nationally, this is considered a substantial increase of 127 tons over the previous event. - continued on page 11. 9


From the Violet Township Fire Department

By Jim Paxton, Violet Township Fire Battalion Chief

Playing Hard and Living the Dream As the “apple of your eye” – or the source of concern and frustration – kids are incredible creations. Both fragile and naïve, brilliant and resilient, children enhance our lives every day. As a father of two, I must say the “Parenting Brochure” may have omitted a few details. As parents, we often develop a newfound respect of our own parents or other adults who aided in our growth and development. Parenthood exposes us to new experiences, emotions and smells. Children require us to grow as adults. This can be challenging for those of us who are perpetually kids ourselves. I am a fortunate soul. I grew up playing and dreaming about being a firefighter, and have had the great opportunity to live that dream every time I go to work. In some ways, I still feel like that same boy who was playing “emergency” with the neighbor kids. Unfortunately, we all change with time and age.

10

I can vividly remember thinking that the school year would never end. I was anxious for time to accelerate; I couldn’t wait to grow up! Now that I am well into my 40s, I can’t seem to find time, let alone slow it down! Life can be fickle that way. This summer has illustrated how time can fly by. It seemed that we were just celebrating the graduation of the class of 2013, and now we are preparing for the start of camps and conditioning Battalion Chief Jim Paxton (left) and Battalion Chief Kenn Taylor for fall sports. It is a busy time (right) hold a backboard as kids at the Lockville Road fire station in of year, with high hopes and Olde Pickerington Village. increasing anticipation of the can challenge both young and old. Elupcoming school year. Although summer is a great time to evated heat indexes pose health threats be a kid, it can also be dangerous and to the elderly and can be especially danchallenging at times. Children may en- gerous to those (of all ages) engaged in joy more freedom during the summer outdoor activities. Kids on the go need to hydrate! Time months. As the approaching school year draws and experience teach us to slow down, near, often there is an urge seek shade and drink plenty of fluids to squeeze in just a little when we are hot. Science tells us to pre-hydrate the day before expected more fun and excitement. Caution may be cast athletic or strenuous activities. Don’t let dehydration dampen the fun aside. Kids of all ages often don’t see, feel or re- or weaken the game. Talk to your kids port the signs and symp- about their fluid needs. Explain that toms of environmental drinking enough of the right beverages emergencies while at- affects both their health and their activitempting to enjoy every ties. In addition to water, sports drinks adventurous and fleeting can replenish some of the electrolytes and carbohydrates lost during activities. moment of summer. Talk to your coaches, trainers or One of the few predictable occurrences in Ohio physician for their recommendations. weather is a hot and hu- Send the kids off knowing how to stay mid end to summer. The cooled and energized, on and off the “dog days of summer” playing field. Hopefully, we all find the time to safeViolet Township Fire Chief John Eisel, ly share and enjoy the waning days of as a teenager, stands on the left of summer. Who knows what dreams have fellow volunteer firefighters with been inspired, and which have come to neighboring Madison Township Fire fulfillment? and a vintage fire truck.

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www.violet.oh.us

Heat Related Emergencies Heat cramp symptoms include: • Severe, sometimes disabling, cramps that typically begin suddenly in the hands, calves, or feet. Heat exhaustion symptoms include: • Fatigue • Nausea • Headaches • Excessive thirst • Muscle aches and cramps • Weakness • Confusion or anxiety • Drenching sweats, often accompanied by cold, clammy skin • Slowed or weakened heartbeat • Dizziness • Fainting • Agitation

and who has the following symptoms: • Confusion, anxiety or loss of consciousness • Very rapid or dramatically slowed heartbeat • Rapid rise in body temperature that reaches 104-106 degrees Fahrenheit • Either drenching sweats accompanied by cold, clammy skin (which may indicate heat exhaustion) or a marked decrease in sweating accompanied by hot, flushed, dry skin (which may indicate heat stroke) • Convulsions • Any other heat-related symptom that is not alleviated by moving to a shady or air-conditioned area and administering fluids

Heat exhaustion requires immediate attention but is not usually lifethreatening. Heat stroke symptoms include: • Nausea and vomiting • Headache • Dizziness or vertigo • Fatigue • Hot, flushed, dry skin • Rapid heart rate • Decreased sweating • Shortness of breath • Decreased urination • Increased body temperature (104-106 degrees Fahrenheit) • Confusion, delirium or loss of consciousness • Convulsions Heat stroke can occur suddenly, without any symptoms of heat exhaustion. If a person is experiencing symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, get medical care immediately. Any delay could be fatal. Seek emergency medical care for anyone who has been in the heat www.pickeringtonmagazine.com

“Drug & Electronic” cont.

How to Reach Us Violet Township Administrative Offices 12970 Rustic Dr. Pickerington, OH 43147 614-575-5556 www.violet.oh.us Violet Township Fire Stations Phone 614-837-4123 Fire Chief: John Eisel #592: 8700 Refugee Rd. #591: 21 Lockville Rd. #593: 2365 Taylor Park Dr. (behind hhgregg) Violet Township Service Center Phone: 614-382-5979 490 Center St. Pickerington, OH 43147

Residents have once again stepped up and taken a proactive approach toward protecting our environment and our community. The event is important because it provides a way to dispose of materials that would negatively impact the environment if flushed down the toilet or sent to the landfill without first removing certain components. This event also removes a temptation to abuse prescription drugs from our medicine cabinets. If you have items you wish to dispose of with no questions asked and missed this event, do not worry. The Township and our partners – Fairfield Soil and Water Conservation District, Lancaster-Fairfield Community Action Agency and Fairfield County Sheriff’s Department – are planning another collection event this fall, which will include document shredding. Please watch the Township pages in Pickerington Magazine for notice of the event when the date is finalized. Thank you, concerned residents, for continuing to make this event successful. 11


faces

By Garth Bishop

War Stories

O

Over the last few years, Kyle Miller has interviewed and documented the stories of more than 200 war veterans, and he has no interest in slowing down. The home-schooled Pickerington Boy Scout started Voices from the Front in December 2011 with an ambitious goal: 1,000 interviews with veterans. It started out as an Eagle Scout project, but it quickly took on a life of its own. Now 16, Miller began developing an interest in history when he was 10, and got into learning the stories of veterans at age 12 when he read a news article about veterans sharing stories with young people. To learn more, he joined the Alton Litsenberger chapter of the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge, which meets six times a year in Westerville. “My great-grandfather served in that battle,” Miller says. After attending some meetings, Miller realized the veterans’ stories needed to be documented. He first started his interviews as material for a book, then expanded the scope as his Eagle Scout project. That book, A Generation of Heroes, was published in December 2012. It consists mainly of interviews of Litsenberger chapter veterans and a written history that Miller researched. A link to buy it can be found on the Voices from the Front website, www.voicesfromthefront.org. As of late June, the project had collected about 230 interviews. Miller conducts many of them himself, with others being conducted by friends, fellow Scouts and other interested people. An interview guide with basic questions and suggestions for more indepth questions can be found on the Voices from the Front website. “When I started, it was just me and a few volunteers in the southern Colum-

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bus area, but now we’ve done interview events all over central Ohio,” Miller says. “I’ve also done phone interviews with veterans in places like California, Florida and Colorado.” Most of the veterans profiled thus far saw combat in World War II. Others served in the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm and the more recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Miller even has an account of World War I from the son of a veteran of that war.

A young Kyle Miller with veteran Frank Walsh

With so many conversations under his belt, it’s tough for Miller to pick out the most interesting stories, but there are a few that quickly jump to his mind. One was told by a World War II veteran named Dante Guzzo, who died in December. Miller was impressed by the sense of humor Guzzo maintained while talking about the dangerous missions in which he took part. “He was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Cloth, which is the second-highest medal … you can get in the Army,” Miller says. “He singlehandedly took out two German pillboxes and took 14 prisoners when his squad was pinned down and isolated from the rest of their platoon.”

Aspiring Eagle Scout works to document and tell veterans’ tales Miller also recalls the first story he heard from a veteran who had served: Frank Walsh, who still remembered being unable to help a fellow American soldier who was calling for help because he did not have his rifle with him. Even 64 years later, Walsh – who died in 2010 – was still haunted by the man he could not save, Miller says. “It was very moving to see the emotion that he had,” he says. The goal of 1,000 interviews remains, but Miller won’t stop at that if there are more veterans to talk to. “If I were to hit above that, I would be absolutely thrilled,” he says. And he does more than just interview. Miller also frequently speaks about his project and shares the stories of veterans he’s talked to at churches, veterans’ group meetings, senior centers and schools, particularly around Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Miller hopes to earn his Eagle Scout certification by September; he only has a few steps to go. He still has another two years of high school left, but has thought about history and political science as possible college majors. Miller has four siblings – one brother and three sisters. His parents are Bill and Margot Miller. More information on Voices from the Front, including interview opportunities and veteran profiles, is available at the organization’s website. Miller can also be reached by phone at 740-6751116 or by email at kyle.miller@voicesfromthefront.org. Garth Bishop is editor of Pickerington Magazine. Feedback welcome at gbishop@cityscenemediagroup.com.

www.pickeringtonmagazine.com www.pickeringtonmagazine.com


By Brandon Klein

in focus

Hope Springs Eternal

Together or separate, high school service groups provide assistance

Pickerington High School Central’s Club Hope raised money by selling pink T-shirts, bracelets and charms at a home football game.

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Hope is an important concept at both Pickerington high schools. Each school has a group called Club Hope, and although the meanings and missions are different, both are driven by a desire to help others, particularly those affected by cancer. At Pickerington High School North, Club Hope – Helping others find hope, Opportunity to make a difference, Pride in your community, Endurance to overcome obstacles – was originally known as Nellie’s Club. It worked with Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids, a central Ohio nonprofit that works to make life easier for families affected by pediatric cancer. Today, the club is an opportunity for Pickerington students to get hands-on volunteering and fundraising experience in an effort to give the community a better tomorrow, says Sarah Whitcraft, the club’s faculty adviser. “It’s what Pickerington promotes – they want you out there doing community service and getting involved in the community, but not necessarily through (groups) like the (National Honor Society) or some of the clubs where you have to have the highest GPA,” Whitcraft says. “It’s for kids

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who might not be the strongest (academically), but still want to go out and make an impact on the community.” At the start of the 2012-13 school year, the club had 200 members, says Abby Shalawylo, last year’s club president. “Anyone can join,” she says. “Hope relates to everybody, so it’s easy to get people interested and involved because it affects everyone.” Club Hope has expanded the scope of its assistance beyond pediatric cancer to people affected by deaths in the family, suicide and financial need. Pickerington High School North’s Club Hope hosted a Make-a-Wish beneficiary at a football game fundraiser.

Last year, the club held a bake sale and sold yellow “hope” bandanas, raising $1,000 for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, at a North football game. The game even hosted a child from the foundation who told his story during halftime. “That event was so neat because we really did get the whole school in on it and the community (as well),” Shalawylo says. “It was the whole community … involved and right there with us.” The club has also held an Easter egg hunt that raised $850 for Blue Star Mothers, an organization for women who have sons or daughters serving in the military, and helped the organization send care packages and cards to troops and veterans. The club is about more than just fundraising and volunteering, says incoming president Kenna Scaife – it also provides experiences that are beneficial to students, such as helping families at the Ronald McDonald house. “The best thing is that you can actually see what you’re helping,” Scaife says. At Pickerington High School Central, Club Hope – Helping Others Protecting Each other – is in its third year. It is also 13


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The two clubs joined with other organizations to raise almost $10,400 for the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Miracle Network.

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directed at raising money and awareness of cancer, says Erin Salzer, the club’s faculty adviser. “I’ve been the adviser the entire time, and just to see how this club has taken off and grown has been nothing but amazing,” Salzer says. The club has raised money for the James Cancer Hospital at The Ohio State University and volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House. “Our group has really good kids and they have really good hearts,” says Brittany Hardyman, club president. The club had more than 80 members in its first year, and it’s continued to be popular among students, says Hardyman. “There’s a genuine purpose within the group that students want to be a part of, and that transpires within the school and within the community,” Salzer says. The club raised $1,700 for the Stefanie Spielman Fund at the James at a Central football game last year selling pink T-shirts, bracelets and charms. Donors were encouraged to write the names of people they know who had breast cancer on pink and white balloons, which were released at kickoff. With help from the school’s basketball team, the club started an aware-

ness game, Hoops for Hope, which three cancer survivors attended. Club Hope will be collaborating with the Make-A-Wish Foundation for next year’s basketball awareness game, Hardyman says. “I think Club Hope probably had the most student interaction within our school,” she says. “Even the teachers, the staff and our administration are awesome. Our administration always approves everything and they’re very cooperative. Our community, too.” On March 16, the two clubs joined forces with National Honor Society and Student Council for a night of activities at North called Rave to Save. Their combined fundraising efforts produced a $10,380 donation for the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Miracle Network. “The cross interaction between the groups at both high schools is just nothing short of heartwarming and overwhelming at times, to see the efforts that everyone puts into it,” Salzer says. Brandon Klein is a contributing writer. Feedback welcome at gbishop@ cityscenemediagroup.com.

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Pickerington August/September 2013