“Family always came first for my dad,” said Jeff Groll, one of Gene’s five children. “He loved to be a firefighter. Growing up, we always did firefighting things together. If there was a fire department function or a parade, we would always be a part of it.”
Groll, 86, died Wednesday, Sept. 8, after a long illness.
Jeff said his father was the consummate professional, “a firefighter’s firefighter,” who enjoyed helping train the rank and file.
“He was a very good teacher, very patient. He was a very kind person. It was always easy for him to work with people,” said Jeff.
His dad considered the fire department as his extended family, added Jeff.
“It wasn’t just a job. The people he worked with were also family. He thought that people who worked together, and enjoyed themselves together after work, were most effective. If you could play together after work, it was easy to work together.”
Oregon Fire Chief Ed Ellis called Gene “a good guy.”
“He was a very fair and equitable leader. He treated the part-time firefighters like people rather than his subordinates,” said Ellis. “He was easy to talk to and have a discussion with. He was just an all-around, really nice guy.”
Hours after the storm, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army stepped in to offer immediate help in the form of food, water, clothing and shelter. The United Way of Greater Toledo helped organize and dispatch close to 4,000 volunteers in Wood and Ottawa counties. ISOH/IMPACT, a community based non-profit charitable organization called for “bucket brigades” to collect cleaning and emergency supplies that victims would need. Churches, community groups, businesses and individuals also stepped in to do what they could.
Northwest Ohioans opened not only their hearts but their wallets too, donating at least $626,000 to major organizations like the Red Cross, the United Way and ISOH/IMPACT, as well as to numerous fundraisers organized throughout the region.
Three months later, as fundraisers are still being held and donations continue to trickle in, aid is being distributed to help victims return to their new “normal.”
The Ottawa County Department of Job and Family Services will start two programs this month to help eligible families with clothing and commuting costs.
The school clothing program is for Ottawa County students enrolled in grades K-12, in a public or private school. A $200 gift card for each qualifying student will be given to purchase outerwear, underwear, shoes, or apparel suitable for classroom wear, and/or approved school uniforms. Gift cards will be available from Walmart, Macy’s, Elder Beerman, Sears, and J.C. Penney, on a first-come first-serve basis. Applications will be sent home with students in cooperation with all the schools within the county.
Also in September, a Fuel for Work program is available to eligible adults working outside of the home. A $200 gift card to either Speedway or Marathon will be issued to eligible adult household members that work a minimum of 30 hours per week, outside of the home. Cards are to be used for fuel or automotive needs only.
Applications for either program are available at the Ottawa County Department of Job and Family Services, in Oak Harbor, and the Sutton Center in Port Clinton.
Oregon will conduct real time tests of its drinking water to monitor results of samples taken by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency last month that showed low levels of a toxin that can cause damage to the liver and nervous system.
“We take this very seriously,” said Oregon Administrator Mike Beazley. “We think our practices appropriately deal with it, and our water has been, and continues to be, safe.”
The Ohio EPA last month conducted three rounds of sampling at 11 public drinking water systems whose source water is drawn from Lake Erie’s western basin, where a large blue-green algae bloom is present. Laboratory analysis last week found very low levels of microcystin, a common algal toxin that can affect the liver, in the finished (treated) water in Oregon, and Carroll Township in Ottawa County.
Microcystin was present in finished water at 0.23 parts per billion (ppb) in Oregon, and 0.16 ppb in Carroll Township. Both are well below the 1.0 ppb drinking water guidelines established by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Shane Baumgartner first served in Iraq with the Marine Corps, returned as a civilian contractor and then made his
third deployment working for the U.S. state department.
On his final excursion, he survived being kidnapped by the enemy and being locked in the trunk of a Humvee.
Baumgartner was a Reconnaissance Marine who recently graduated from the police academy. Today, the veteran is a Northwood firefighter and paramedic. However, Baumgartner does not necessarily like to be called a “hero.”
Baumgartner spoke to over 200 people during the Northwood VFW Post 2984 Veterans Appreciation Day celebration August 21. The event was organized by the post’s appreciation day co-chairpersons Mike Myers and Audrey Caligirui.
In attendance were Baumgartner’s wife Elizabeth (Wasserman) and her grandfather, Noel Donnell, a World War II vet. Donnell was impressed with Baumgartner’s message.
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