LIMA — For Ottawa resident Tim Macke, volunteerism has been as much a way a life as it has been his own desire to help others.
Because of that way of life, Macke was chosen from among this year's eight Jefferson Awards for Public Service winners to represent the Lima area as representative at the national awards in Washington, D.C., to be held in June.
Macke said the key is teaching your own children that one person can make a difference.
“I think it is taught to you at a young age,” Macke said. “I had two uncles that were city councilman. I had an uncle that was mayor and a great-uncle that was clerk/treasurer. My father was involved in Knight of Columbus and the union. My mother taught [Confraternity of Christian Doctrine] classes. It is that type of stuff that makes a difference.”
Macke said though he was humbled and thankful for the award, it is the little rewards you get from volunteering that you remember most.
“It's most rewarding when you are seeing little things happen,” Macke said. “We occasionally help train people to help them get jobs. We had someone just recently get some training and got a job at Whirlpool. We have had young people join the garden club and at first they have a hard time figuring things out. Then you see them start picking it up and knowing what to do as they progress. “It gives you those little rewards.”
As a volunteer, Macke has taken a leadership role within several organizations. These include the Putnam County Community Thrift Store, the Master Gardener project, Ottawa Knights of Columbus, the Marriage Mentor program, Coats for the Needy, the Cereal Grains project, and the Measure-Up program.
He also helps extensively at SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Ottawa and has been a member of numerous other boards and organizations, including Second Responders, a community action group that responds to help residents in the community who are impacted in natural disasters. The group most recently helped out in the Cloverdale tornado that caused massive damage in the small town.
Howard Gerten, who nominated Macke, called him a great community leader.
“He has used his outstanding leadership ability to help those in need, whether it was from the result of a natural disaster or from prior situational needs,” he said. “We are very fortunate to have such a person with such talent helping everyone in the community and making such a difference.”
Macke said his wife is a great partner in encouraging him to help out.
“I am driven by my wife,” Macke said. “It's a family thing. My mother and father showed me how to be a part of the community.”
The other eight winners who were also awarded included Michael Ayers, of Lima, Roy Baldridge, of Lima, Denis Glenn, of Lima, Cindi Hayes, of Elida, Martha Hutchison, of Cridersville, Andy Marvola, of Lima, and Mark Yoder, of Bluffton.
Bill Clinger from The Lima News said it was important to remember that all eight were winners.
“There are eight winners,” he said. “This is the one person who gets to go and represent us. These are the type of people that instead of asking what someone can do, they ask 'What can I do.'”
Tom Hendrixson, who chaired the selection committee, said the process of reviewing the nominees and selecting the eight winners was a “humbling experience.”
Each winner was presented with a bronze medallion and was given $350 to give to the respective charities he or she represented. Macke received an additional $700 for being selected to represent the area at the national ceremony.