LIMA — Jefferson Award winner Dave Roznowski is all about service to the community. He’s director of Neighborhood Relief Thrift Store, 1500 Elida Road in Lima, but his reach goes far beyond the store walls.
His nominator, Bobbie Nevarez, was a Jefferson Award winner last year, representing Allen County in Washington D.C.
“In the over four years I’ve been administrator with Restoration House, Dave is the person that has stepped up to the plate in many capacities. All of our men and woman are there because they have issues with drugs, alcohol, mental illness, incarceration, life crisis of all kind as well as veterans who are homeless, displaced or disabled,” she said.
Roznowski has helped provide the veterans with clothing, bedding and other items.
“It’s a common thing for him to help them with some basic home furnishings from pots and pans right on to a piece of furniture. It’s not a handout — it’s a helping hand or a hand up,” she said.
Roznowski was appreciative of the honor of being chosen a Jefferson Award winner.
“It’s very humbling. I know Bobbie and all the work that she does in our community with a lot of people that others would probably cast aside. Her opinion matters,” said Roznowski.
Neighborhood Relief Thrift Store was started 18 years by Dave and his wife Heather. They invested $500 and the items they had in their basement to get things going. Their first location was by the old KMart.
“I remember signing a piece of paper that said I agree to pay $96,000 and that was basically $4,000 a month for the next two years. No business plan and no inventory and we just kind of had a plan that wanted to help people,” he said.
Their current location on Elida Road, serves as their base of operations. In the front there’s the thrift store, but in the back, a large sorting and recycling operation. He employs more than 20 people.
“We work with every assistance agency in the community from Red Cross to Children Services to Job and Family Services to all the churches, all the schools. They identify needs we have in the community and then they refer them here to us and allow us an opportunity to try to help to meet those needs whether it’s clothing, a bed, a couch, household items,” he said.
“God saw something, using us in a much greater way, not just help, but bringing hope and love.”
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.