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Published: Thursday, 3/4/2004

Maumee: Honors slated for 6 who make city better place

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Jack Briner will be honored as Maumee s Outstanding Citizen of the Year. Jack Briner will be honored as Maumee s Outstanding Citizen of the Year.
HIRES / BLADE Enlarge

The Maumee community does not have a better friend than Jack Briner, says Tom Dussel, who nominated Mr. Briner for the city s Outstanding Citizen of the Year award.

Active in the Maumee chamber of commerce, Maumee Rotary Club, and other community groups, projects, and programs, Mr. Briner has been a leader in the city since he moved here in 1974.

“I get a big enjoyment from what I do. I enjoy helping people,” Mr. Briner said. “It goes beyond that. When someone asks me to do something, I just can t say no. ”

Mr. Briner, an investment planner with the Toledo Financial Group, served for about 10 years on the Maumee Municipal Planning Commission, beginning in about 1982.

Today, he is active in the Ohio College Access Network Program, serving on the board of a newly formed OCAN program in northwest Ohio. The goal of the program is to help as many high school students as possible pursue post-secondary education by providing financial aid counseling, tutoring, mentoring, and scholarship funds.

Mr. Briner, who will be honored during an awards dinner March 11, “has consistently given of his time and talent to make the community a better place to live,” said Mr. Dussel.

Each year Maumee residents are honored for their continued community involvement and leadership roles in helping to make Maumee a better place to live. Members of various civic groups recently met to select the recipients from nominations submitted by friends, relatives, and co-workers.

Several other outstanding citizens will be presented with Hometown Hero awards:

Dr. Duane J. Kerscher Sr., retired osteopathic physician, was nominated by his son, David Kerscher, of Waterville, because he “has unselfishly given many professional and private hours of his own time to numerous city organizations and civic causes for the benefit of the city of Maumee, as well as hundreds of its fine past and present citizens, some spanning over four generations.”

Dr. Kerscher, a physician for more than 35 years, retired in 1995 He said he doesn t consider himself a hero. “I did what I did because I was having fun, practicing medicine and taking care of people.”

Janet Russ, executive director of the Maumee Senior Center, was nominated by Jim and Marian Hyland of Maumee. They said her organization and management of the Maumee Senior Center have made it the “crown jewel” of northwest Ohio senior centers.

Ms. Russ, an ordained elder and ordained deacon in First Presbyterian Church of Maumee, is former president of the Maumee chamber of commerce.

Frank Kohler, former chairman of the municipal planning commission, was nominated by Craig Gauger with the Lions Club. Mr. Kohler s leadership and volunteer work in the community have covered more than 25 years, Mr. Hauger said.

“He s always there to lend a helping hand,” Mr. Gauger said.

Mr. Kohler s involvement in the community includes coaching and officiating youth sports and tutoring inner-city students.

A logistics consultant, Mr. Kohler said he became involved with community activities because “I think it is the right thing to do. I am blessed with a type of job that allows me the time to do that.”

He said that there are many hometown heroes in Maumee, and that he is honored to have been selected for the award.

Huber Buehrer, president of the Buehrer Group Architecture & Engineering, was also selected as a Hometown Hero.

Mr. Buehrer has “dedicated his entire life to helping those in need. He is a quiet philanthropist and donating his firm s professional services is just one way he chooses to give back to this community,” according to Maumee school officials who nominated him.

Mr. Buehrer said that receiving the Hometown Hero award has been “quite nice. I wasn t expecting it.”

The Buehrer Group, a family-run Maumee business, has donated its expertise to a number of local projects, including the new performing arts center at the Maumee High School and a renovation/new construction project planned for St. Paul s Lutheran Church. The firm has donated architectural and engineering services for both projects.

Jim Cellio, Maumee High School principal, will receive the Golden Apple Award for outstanding performance as a leader in the Maumee school system.

He is described by students as a “nice, kind, laid-back kind of guy. A principal with patience when a problem arises. A man who lives up to his profession.”

Superintendent Greg Smith said that Mr. Cellio “has made numerous positive changes resulting in outstanding student rapport, high staff morale, and improved proficiency test scores. Mr. Cellio is extremely involved in all aspects of the educational program at Maumee High School.”

The Maumee River Award, in recognition for generous support to numerous organizations and causes, goes to The Andersons business.

The Andersons has always been an important part of Maumee, according to Brenda Clixby, executive director of the Maumee Chamber of Commerce. “They support numerous clubs, projects, and events every year, and are actively involved in several civic organizations in Maumee,” she said.

The public is invited to attend the awards dinner March 11 at Gladieux Meadows. The ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. with dinner, followed by the awards presentation, and concluded with entertainment by Maumee magician Pattrick Przysiecki. Tickets can be reserved by contacting the Maumee Chamber of Commerce.



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