WOOSTER – The Village Network added six inductees to its Hall of Fame in a celebration dinner held on the patio of The Wooster Inn on Thursday evening.
Honored in the induction ceremony were Fred E. Durant, Gregory A. Long, John W. McCord, William R. Schultz Jr. and, posthumously, Yvonne L. Cook and Chad H. Grubb.
Guests were directed to the video presentation about each new inductee played on screens installed on the patio.
In the video, Jim Miller, the former executive director of The Village Network, praised Cook for being “very much a part of the spirit of this organization.”
Doris Bucher accepted the award for Cook, a former Wayne County Extension agent and Daily Record columnist, for founding the Friends of Boys’ Village, an auxiliary organization which helped raise funds, organize events and give gifts to the residents on their birthday and Christmas.
Durant is a Boys’ Village alumnus and said on the video, it was “a place I could call home.”
Miller pointed out it wasn’t easy to rise from difficult circumstances and become a successful adult, as did Durant.
Before he came to Boys’ Village, said Durant, who became a business owner, “I was heading down the road of becoming a statistic.”
Bob Maruna, who has a 50-year history with TVN, said Long, co-founder of the accounting firm of Long, Cook & Samsa, has always been willing to go beyond what was expected “to get the job done.”
He has served as a board member, board of trustees treasurer and corporation board member; and with his wife, Kathy, earned the Friend of Philanthropy award given by the Wayne County Community Foundation.
Inductee John McCord “is deserving because of his tireless efforts,” said Miller, adding, “People don’t realize (board membership) becomes like a full-time job.”
McCord, who owned Insurance Showcase Agency Inc. and became a partner of Whitaker-Myers Insurance Agency (now Group), served as chairman of the board during a time of dramatic change and growth.
Miller described as “vast” the contribution made to TVN by Schultz, who served as Boys’ Village clinical director, beginning in 1970; its associate director beginning in 1978; and then its executive director from 1984-2000, making Boys Village into a “great organization. It was “a life mission” for him; and many advancements were made during his tenure.
“I am most proud of the kids who come back later on, some of them after many years,” Schultz said, and observing “how well they’re doing and how (well) they treat their own families.”
“God gave him a heart for these boys,” said Ellie Grubb of her late husband, Capt. Chad Grubb, a U.S. Navy veteran who became a youth care specialist at Boys Village.
Maruna recalled the “spirituality” embodied by Grubb.
When he took youth out on Lake Erie on his boat, “He wanted to use that for an eternal purpose,” said Ellie Grubb. “He really wanted to be able to help these kids.”
Durant shared his memory of sailing with Grubb and showed a ball given as a souvenir of the trip to him by Grubb; he still has it 32 years later, he said.
“We’re looking at the accomplishments of these people as extraordinary,” said TVN CEO Richard Graziano.
A TVN resident named Mariah also spoke at the event and gave a touching tribute to what the opportunity has meant to her.
Coming from a background of trauma, her rebellious period lasted longer than that of most people, she acknowledged, noting, “I put myself in a dangerous situation.”
Terrified at first of being placed at TVN, it soon “began to feel like home,” as well as “a second chance.”
“I want to be proud of everything I do in the future,” she said, planning to finish high school and hopefully attend college with the goal of “helping girls struggling like I did.”
“The staff (of TVN) love you as if you were their own kids,” she said, adding, “I hope you know how much this place means to kids like me.” She received a standing ovation when she finished speaking.
Jim Mueller, former Cleveland Browns radio analyst and television personality, served as the master of ceremonies for the evening’s festivities.
Written by: Linda Hall, Staff Writer, The Daily Record. Linda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.