Take a look around – Sheffield Lake is more than just a place to live

As Mayor, I’ve always tried to show my support of the community by attending special events, Brookside sports activities and gatherings like senior cookouts or Monday Morning Coffee. It’s also okay to have a little fun along the way!

I’ve always been proud to say that I’m from Sheffield Lake. I played sports when I was at Brookside High School and felt bothered when anyone from another community would ask where I was from and would then respond with a flat, “Oh.” My response was to double down on my effort to beat that team, or at least make them remember they did not get a walk away win.

Since moving here in the mid 1950’s as a toddler, the city has been through a lot of change. A lot of the housing that exists today had not even been built. Shoreway Shopping Center did not exist either. The city and the country were thriving. Many moved to the areas thanks to plentiful jobs at steel mills, shipyards and auto plants. Kids like me had no problem finding others to play ball, fish or hang out at the West Shore Club, the predecessor to the Hanks Center. I couldn’t understand why anyone who wasn’t from Sheffield Lake couldn’t get why it was just as cool to live here as any other nearby community and I was never afraid to express this belief.

I had a great time at Brookside, not just because it is where I met my wife, Kim, but because I had great teachers and classmates. Many of them have gone on to successful careers here and elsewhere. Truth is that sports meant more to me than academics when I was in school. I know it should have been vice versa but that was my thing and it gave me the chance to meet many different people and to see the outside world and what others were going through or had.

I went on to college to play sports. When my parents’ began to need more help, I came home and I’ve never regretted that choice.

As a teen or young man, I did not give much thought to whether a change was good or bad. I just took it for granted.

Then I got older, married and became a dad, and I began to think about the changes I saw happening in the city. For me, Sheffield Lake has always been more than just someplace to live. I wanted the best for my two sons and our family.

I got involved with the kids’ sports and coaching while working two jobs. When an opportunity to serve on the school board opened, I went for it because I wanted to use my voice to ensure Sheffield kids had a great school experience, like I had.

Whether we like it or not, life moves pretty fast. I felt I had more to offer to the city so I ran for a seat on council, where I thought I could be an even stronger voice for changes I thought would improve things. When it appeared the Mayor would not seek re-election due to serious health issues, I decided to run because I believed as Mayor I had a real chance to make changes I thought important and assemble a team to get things done.

From the time I was young I’ve not been reluctant to speak up when I believe something is blatantly wrong and needs to change. When I was still in my 20’s, I had a boss who told us at a meeting that the job is number one and family is number two. Right there, in front of 50 people, I told him he was wrong and that family should always be number one. Right after that, another superintendent came up to me and said he wished I hadn’t said what I said. But, two days later, the guy who was running the meeting found me to apologize.

When I speak my mind, it’s not always elegant. While I have some regret about how my blunt talk at times offended someone, it’s nothing like the vindictive, divisive way people treat each other on social media and in public which has done nothing to help the city or the country.

When it comes to Sheffield Lake, my words and actions have always come from a deep belief in doing the right thing for residents and advancing the city. No one likes being told “no,” but sometimes it’s necessary if you have your eye on the big picture. I’m proud of what I have done, along with a small, dedicated team who always wanted the best for Sheffield Lake, and still do.

I really like this quote from the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” Summer is a perfect time to visit our city parks or enjoy a walk or bike ride along our walking trails. The carnival is returning to Community Days along with the parade and fireworks. These are great family activities. Hope you won’t miss any of it.