New Clear Fork school board member likes the direction Bellville is moving

By Louise Swartzwalder - Galion Inquirer

CLEAR FORK VALLEY – The newest member of the Clear Fork Valley School District board says he’s interested in that job because of several “amazing feats” that have occurred.

Gary McCue, whose day job is with the Ohio National Guard, said it was a major coup for Clear Fork to get two new school buildings.

New elementary buildings were constructed in Butler and Bellville.

McCue, 53, said people are moving to the area, and the schools are part of the reason.

There are “so many positive things,” he said, and mentioned that many families are moving in.

He said the housing market is good, and three residents on his street were able to sell their homes within one week when they were listed.

McCue said two of his neighbors had potential buyers, without argument, offer “what was on the table.”

People moving to the area don’t seem to have a problem with working in Columbus or Cleveland, and commuting to the Bellville/Butler area, he said.

McCue, formerly commander at the 179th Air Lift in Mansfield, said he has spent 36 years in the Air National Guard.

He works out of the National Guard headquarters in Columbus now. For a time he was stationed in Washington, D.C., reporting to Andrews Air Force Base where he was deputy director of Air OPS.

He can pilot a C130, and recently spent time at the 179th for a “check ride.”

McCue said though he is a colonel, people can refer to him as Mr. McCue, or call him by his first name, Gary.

He made his application to be on the board after someone told him about the opening. Board president Kyle Beveridge recently resigned, opening the board spot.

McCue said he has talked with board president Amy Weekley, superintendent Janice Wyckoff and treasurer Bradd Stevens about board business.

McCue and his wife Molly have four daughters. Molly McCue teaches at North Central State University.

National Guard members are “citizen soldiers,” McCue said. They are like cops, teachers, firefighters, he said. They “look like everyone else,” he said.

His one daughter, Josie, 18, is an Airman First Class A1C.

She is on active duty and marches to and from classes. She intends to go to Ohio University full time, McCue said.

He said more people should know about the National Guard.

“The Guard is a such a cool thing,” he said.

Some people think they should be in a Reserve unit for one of the armed forces, McCue said, but he believes being the Guard is a better alternative.

Starting his job on the school board, he will first get to know other members, McCue said.

Serving in the Guard means he knows what he can bring to the job, McCue said.

He has a “lot of experience, strong management skills, and leadership” abilities, he said.

Being in the Guard means knowing there is “always someone ready to step in,” he said.

Important core values are taught in the Guard, he said. They are “Service before self; excellence in all you do.”

This is an important way to “live your life,” he said.

There are distinctions to be made in how one chooses to go through life, he said.

A person can be “looking at a shining object” but be “standing in a mine field.”

McCue will have to run for re-election in December, when the two-year term started by Beveridge is up.

He said sometimes people have to think about “the first alligator in the boat.” This means recognizing priorities, he said.

He talked about the history of the 179th, which at one time was scheduled to be closed.

Grassroots support prevented that from happening in 2005, he said.

A decision was made to remove C130s from the base, and a move was made to “close us again,” he said.

Former President Barack Obama visited the base and shook McCue’s hand, he said. His visit had something to do with keeping the base open, said McCue.

A bunch of airplanes were going to be taken to a “bone yard in Arizona,” he said.

Pentagon positions and budgetary concerns were given as reasons for the move to close the base, according to McCue.

By Louise Swartzwalder

Galion Inquirer