I’m a proud Galionite.
I’m not afraid to say it. I never have been.
I first moved here when I was just a couple years old. My first home was on Pierce Street. My mom and dad moved the family to Summit Street in the mid-1960s. I still think I have a memory of my first time at the house on Summit Street. What I remember is the big bush, no longer there, between the house and the alley. It had little white flowers and even as a kid I knew it smelled pretty good.
I have lived in the Columbus (campus area and then north Columbus) area for several years and spent about 10 years in the Medina (Chippewa Lake) area. I can’t say I disliked either of those places. In fact I loved them and have great memories of both.
But I ended up back in Galion. And I’m OK with that
Now, if I had scrounged up a job at a newspaper or managed somehow to open a restaurant in Key West, I may have never come back to Galion. But I didn’t. I did come back, and I have no regrets.
In my mind, Galion has a wonderful past, full of pleasant sights and sounds and activities.
Galion also has a bright future.
I’ve talked about some of the economic wins we’ve had in recent years. And more are in the way with the opening of Ralphie’s and then, whatever restaurant is going in at the old MR or BJ’s, you know the one, next to Victory Lanes. And if anyone does know what is going out there, send me an email and let me in on the secret.
Another reason I have faith in this community is our youth.
Kids in are becoming more involved in their communities and are doing a lot of volunteer work. A lot more than when I was in school
That happens in a lot of small towns and village, but in Galion it’s something to boast about.
Some recent examples:
- Galion High School students spent the better part of the holiday season preparing and donating meals to help those less fortunate. The students, members of the GHS/Pioneer Career and Technology Center (PCTC) Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), undertook two projects. They prepared and served a full meal for guests of the Ronald McDonald House in Columbus. They also donated money to purchase meals for six area families for the holidays. Each family received a 9-10 lb. ham, with two of the six families receiving a ham and a turkey. The families also received 10 lbs. of potatoes, corn, ingredients for green bean casserole, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, rolls, apple juice, eggs, three pies & whipped topping.
- Galion Primary School launched a building-wide recycling program. Student leaders utilize clipboards and check sheets to ensure recycling is picked up throughout the building each week. Once all items are collected from classrooms, students sort the recyclable items into six different barrels for the custodial staff to remove.
- Seventh-graders collected warm clothing items to help those in need get through the winter months. The clothing drive , called Operation Bundle Up, collected gloves, mittens, hats and scarves to be donated to the Ohio Heartland Community Action Council in Galion.
- Fifth-graders practiced their Christmas carols in preparation for a week of visits to nursing homes around Galion. The visits were Dec. 12-15.
- Galion City Schools student-athletes visit the Primary and Intermediate Schools to read their favorite stories to the younger Tigers weekly.
- Third-grade students collected donations for Christmas Care Packages to be sent to soldiers stationed abroad.
- In past years, students have raised money for many projects, including a coin drive to support the district’s “Field Day” and another coin drive that helped the district collect $7,504.54 in a”Million Pennies for Mel” fundraiser to help a Galion student suffering from an illness, and her family.
Following that effort during the 2015-16 school year, Galion superintendent Jim Grubbs summed up the efforts of students.
“Our students and staff have shown the true heart of this community and what it means to be a Tiger,” he said.
He was talking specifically about the “Million Pennies for Mel” effort, but could have been speaking of all of the efforts.
Grubbs and the school district are emphasizing community involvement by students.
The first time I met Grubbs was when the new pressbox at the football stadium was being installed. On that day, he spent more time discussing with me all the good things Galion students are doing, than he did talking about the pressbox.
I echo Grubbs’ enthusiasm.
Good habits are long-lasting. If students learn how great it feels to do something for others, those traits will not soon go away. They can pass on those same good traits to friends and family, and in the future in, to their own children.
Giving of yourself is a gift that keeps on giving, over and over and over again. Students in Galion have gotten pretty efficient and pretty serious about helping others.
And that’s one more reason to feel good about this community’s future.
Email Russ Kent at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments and story ideas.