Where are you from?

George Brown
This is a question we often ask when we meet a stranger. If you are a thousand miles from home when someone asks this question, you might say, “Cincinnati,” just to keep it simple. But the closer you are to home the more likely you are to say, “Clermont County,” or to name the local Clermont community where you live.

When Yvonne and I moved to Clermont County in 1991, we had been married for 25 years and had two young children, but had no community roots. That’s all changed over the past 20 years. Now when someone asks where we’re from, I like to say, “Maple Grove.” Maple Grove is just an intersection now at the corner of Jackson Pike and Monterey Maple Grove Road, but a hundred years ago Maple Grove had its own school, a large Methodist Church, and a handful of families who, like me, were proud to call Maple Grove home. The old church is still standing, as testament to the fact that this once was a thriving community.

My work at Clermont Senior Services has given me the opportunity to become acquainted with most of the communities throughout the county. I’m continually impressed with the spirit and depth of community pride I see in each community. I’m an associate member of the Clermont County Township Trustees Association and I regularly attend the monthly meetings. Each month the group meets in a different township to highlight local activities, but it is always obvious that our township officials are proud to be a part of the larger Clermont County community. When Howard Daugherty made a comment at the last meeting about how great it is to live in Clermont County, Jim Sauls announced that his son loves Clermont County so much he is going to name his son Jim Clermont Sauls. You gotta love that.

Two other associate members of the Township Association have become special friends of mine. Ruth Ann Ashburn was the Clerk of Batavia Township for many years and served two terms on our board of trustees at Clermont Senior Services. She has also served on the planning committee for Dimmitt Woods Senior Housing, which is finally going to break ground before the end of this year. Ruth Ann is a precious lady and I’m glad to count her as a friend.

The other associate member who has become a good friend is Art Snider. Last Saturday night I had the privilege of attending the Goshen Gala with Art and Sandy Graham. Sandy is another dear friend and former member of our board of trustees. The Gala is sponsored by the Goshen Chamber of Commerce, and Art was one of the residents honored for a lifetime of service to the Goshen community.

Art’s roots run deep in Goshen, dating all the way back to the arrival of his great-great-great grandpa Jacob Meyer in 1798. Art is a former Township Trustee and has been involved in just about every good thing that has happened in Goshen during his 84 years, including the development of O’Bannon Terrace, our first senior housing facility which opened in 1998. Art has served on our Senior Housing board for the past 15 years.

I wish I had the time and space to write about the hundreds of other folks who have become good friends over the past 20 years and who serve as great role models of community service. I will mention just one. Let’s honor the legacy of Lois Brown Dale, founding director of Clermont Senior Services, by voting for the Senior Services Levy on Nov. 8.

As many of you know, I will be retiring at the end of 2011, but Yvonne and I aren’t going anywhere. When asked, “Where are you from,” we’re proud to answer, “We’re from Clermont County.”

George Brown is the executive director of Clermont Senior Services.