Mary J. Davenport, center, nominated Ed Reiter, who laughs with Pat Sloan, recreation director.
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She was the first female to graduate from the Ohio Patrol Academy in Columbus and he helped found the Regional Growth Partnership.
For these achievements and more, Rossford High School alumni Charlotte Ransom Starnes and Edward Reiter were recognized Saturday afternoon at the school's first Awards of Distinction ceremony in the auditorium.
Rossford Superintendent Luci Gernot had the idea for the awards, and a committee was formed in January to set the awards' criteria.
"We decided as a committee that the person [receiving the award] should have graduated from Rossford at least 20 years ago, and the recipient should have made significant contributions to society," Ms. Gernot said.
She added that the committee received about 10 nominations and chose two people to receive the awards in what she hopes will be an annual event.
Award winner Charlotte Ransom Starnes looks over her photos during her entertainment days.
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"They were all really excellent people, so it took a lot of time to decide," she said, adding that athletes are often honored, but the committee wanted to award other types of accomplishments students achieve after graduation.
Ms. Starnes began singing when she was 6 years old and started her professional singing career at 16 years old. She sang for 15 years, but wanted to be home more, so she decided to focus on law enforcement.
After studying at the then Owens Technical College, she became the first woman to graduate from the Ohio Patrol Academy in 1972.
"I was in a large class and I was the only woman," said Ms. Starnes, a Rossford resident. "That was really a highlight of achievement."
She said she is impressed that city officials have come up with the idea for the awards.
"Introducing this type of honor is outstanding," Ms. Starnes said. "I never thought I'd be chosen for something like this. I'm excited and very thankful for it."
Mr. Reiter, a Bowling Green resident, graduated from Rossford High School in 1957 and moved up through the ranks at the Rossford branch of the then Mid Am National Bank to become chief executive officer in 1988.
Before he became senior chairman of Sky Financial Group in 1998, he helped found, and then chaired, the Regional Growth Partnership, which was formed by the Toledo Area Chamber of Commerce and the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority in 1990.
He said he found that having an authority position in any corporation allows him to help people, which he said is his greatest achievement.
"The title and position is important, but it's only important how you help other people because of it," he said. "The ability to work with others and get them where they need to be has been the most important thing in my life."
Mr. Reiter said he is proud to receive an award of distinction from Rossford.
"Rossford High School gave me the basis for a future I've enjoyed today," he said.
"I'm very excited to have two recipients receive these awards that signify something great," Ms. Gernot said. "I hope it's something they both treasure because it comes from a very appreciative community."
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