Jodi Borger

Peggy Kelly (pictured at center) attends the Ohio Renaissance Festival both alone and with her family during the course of the event.

Back in time at the Ohio Renaissance Festival

Peggy Kelly first attended the Ohio Renaissance Festival about 15 years ago.

The festival lasts eight to nine weeks, and Kelly, who is a season passholder, says she’ll typically attend six to eight times during that period. She attends often enough that she says her husband knows exactly where she’s headed if she gets up early — and that she’ll be gone for most of the day.

The Christian Children’s Home of Ohio is perfectly nestled on 163 acres of former farmland just north of Wooster.

Empowering kids to be kids

About 60 years ago, the pastor at a church in tiny Rittman, near Wooster, heard about a young person who needed a safe place to stay.

When the property was first acquired, there was a barn, a couple of outbuildings, and a farmhouse that was converted to the first foster home. Since then, five more cottages have been added to the property — each set up similarly to the original farmhouse. Cottages are separated by gender and age and can house as many as 36 residents at a time. 

“Our kids have experienced severe trauma, so one of the things that we really want them to know is it’s okay to just be a kid,” says Kevin Hewitt, CCHO’s president and CEO.

Giving feedback

It’s a situation nearly everyone can relate to: Your phone rings, you glance at the unfamiliar number, and you make the quick decision not to answer the call. 

“When I first started at NRECA Market Research Services, nearly 18 years ago, 100% of our surveys were being done by phone,” Sanstead says. “In the past five years or so, I feel that members are still more willing to spend time on a survey for their local electric cooperative than they would be for a political survey, but people’s behavior with phones has changed. Many people will not answer their phone if they don’t recognize the number calling them.” 

Bill Pyles taught himself the art of steel blademaking while he recuperated from surgery, and ended up as a champion on the competition series Forged in Fire, thanks to Damascus steel blades he created such as the one above.

Man of steel

Butler Rural Electric Cooperative member Bill Pyles gave himself a valuable piece of advice after a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: “Never say never.”

“After three days of (watching them make blades), I thought, ‘I bet I can do that,’” says Bill, a self-proclaimed tech geek who works for a company in California. 

As it turned out, he was right.

Bill has a wife, Judy (who now refers to herself as a forge widow), four kids, four dogs, and two cats. He’s been a volunteer firefighter for Milford Township for 23 years and is also a part-time beekeeper. He seems to excel at anything he sets his mind to.

After he talked to his wife, he purchased his first small forge for $150. He already had everything else he needed.

Julie Hohenstein (far right) relied on the support of her family during treatment for breast cancer, but was grateful to Pink Ribbon Girls for filling in the gaps.

Pink Ribbon Girls

One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime.

Pink Ribbon Girls serves five regions: Dayton, Cincinnati, and Columbus in Ohio; St. Louis, Missouri; and the Bay Area in California. The organization’s sights are set on expanding their reach to other regions throughout the country, to ensure that no one has to battle breast or gynecological cancers alone.

As Hohenstein can attest, breast cancer affects more than the individual — it affects the entire family.

A crowd watching the fireworks show

Having a blast!

What started out as a little backyard celebration just outside the village of Fletcher in Miami County nearly 20 years ago has evolved into an event that everyone can enjoy. 

Even their “humble” beginning wasn’t all that insignificant; the event drew between 100 and 150 agricultural business contacts, family, friends, and neighbors. But now, the event has grown to several thousand in attendance — and that doesn’t even include those who watch the show from neighboring private parties or from safe parking spots nearby.

“Ultimately, we do this to make people happy, especially those in our community,” Mike says. “You don’t do this for the money — you do this because you want to make those people happy. That, to me, is the challenge.”

Children's Memorial Garden at Do Good.

‘Let us do good’

Karen Homan of Do Good Rest

Homan, who started the project with no previous experience running a business, says she was guided by the Holy Spirit after she was called to action while in her kitchen one day. 

“There was a voice telling me, ‘There are many good people in the world, but they are not coming to my churches. People are so busy with work, schedules, and children that they don’t have time for me — but they will go out to eat,’” says Homan, a member of St. Marys-based Midwest Electric.

Cleaner coal

Cleaner coal

Years ago, if you drove past Cardinal Power Plant, you likely saw a gray cloud emerging from the towers — that color was caused by fly ash and a few other various byproducts of burning coal. 

Located along the Ohio River in Brilliant, Ohio, Cardinal is Buckeye Power’s baseload source for power generation, meaning it supplies Ohio’s 25 electric cooperatives with electricity 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s also a main economic driver in the region, providing more than 300 jobs. The coal-fired plant consists of three units: one owned by AEP and two owned by Buckeye Power. All are managed by Buckeye Power. 

Fullenkamp family

In the blink of a fly

It was a sunny, clear-blue-sky day on June 16, 2018. It also was a day that would forever change the lives of Leah Fullenkamp and her family. 

While he was driving his tractor on the roadway, a distracted driver — shopping on her phone and, based on crash reconstruction analysis, distracted for a full 16 seconds — plowed into the tractor and took John’s life. 

From that moment, everything changed. John’s death left Leah to raise their children, ranging in age from 8 months old to 9 years, by herself. “I lost my husband, my partner, and the father of my children,” Leah says. “Life got hard — really hard — and it happened instantly.”

Dave Shiffer poses with Champaign Lady in the museum’s hangar.

Flight plan

Of the more than 10,000 B-17 Flying Fortresses built during the World War II era, probably fewer than 10 of the iconic bombers are currently air-worthy.

It wasn’t long after the Liberty Belle left Grimes Field that Tom Reilly, who had led restoration efforts on the plane and brought it to Grimes Field, contacted the airport looking for someone to lead another B-17 restoration project. The Shiffer family jumped at the chance.