Arbor Day tree planting honors World War II veteran
Rossford Tree Commission members at the Arbor Day celebration are, from left: Betty Woods, John Vrablic Jr., Barb Montague, Jeanne Zajac and John Folcik.
By Beth Church
A brilliant red-orange maple tree was planted for Arbor Day last Friday as a memorial for Chester Gwozdz, a former Rossford resident and World War II veteran.
City officials, community leaders and members of Mr. Gwozdz’s family gathered for the tree planting ceremony in Veterans Memorial Park.
Reneé Hahn, of Perrysburg Township, thanked the city for the tribute to her great-uncle, who passed away in August 2012.
“It is our hope that its branches will reach out to all those who knew Chet–to those who were fortunate enough to have known him,” she said.
Born in 1918 and raised on Oak Street, his family had 10 siblings and his last surviving sister, Estelle Peatee of Toledo, attended the ceremony.
Ms. Hahn described how Mr. Gwozdz played baseball for Rossford, often at Veterans Park.
“He loved to tell his nieces and nephews many of his cherished stories,” she recalled. “He was a great person in so many ways. He made everyone he knew smile. He was funny and made us laugh all the time.”
Mr. Gwozdz served as a medic in World War II, “but didn’t talk much about it,” she added.
He was married to his wife, Crystal, for 58 years, and they had three sons, Sam, David and Kevin. He worked for Pillsbury in Fort Wayne, Indiana, for 30 years, and was a member of St. Therese Church.
He also was a member of Waynedale American Legion Post 241 in Fort Wayne, where he was sergeant-at-arms for more than 25 years and served on the honor guard for 20 years.
Mr. Gwozdz excelled in charity work for veterans’ and children’s hospitals through the American Legion, she said.
“We all miss him dearly, and we thank you for this fitting dedication,” Ms. Hahn said.
Jeanne Zajac, chairwoman of the city’s tree commission, described the founding of Arbor Day in 1885 by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska.
In his speech at the first celebration of the holiday, he stated, “Each generation takes the earth as trustees.”
“We are the current trustees for our community, and Rossford has strived to update, increase the number of, nurture and manage our urban trees,” Mrs. Zajac said.
Rossford City Council President Larry Oberdorf, who attended the ceremony along with Councilman Jerry Staczek, read a proclamation in honor of Arbor Day, urging citizens to plant trees.
“Trees in our city increase property values, enhance the economic vitality of business areas, and beautify our community,” Mr. Oberdorf said. “Trees, wherever they are planted, are a source of joy and spiritual renewal.”
The memorial tree was planted near the park entrance along Jennings Road.
John Vrablic Jr., tree commission member, explained that it is an Autumn Blaze Maple that will grow 40 to 55 feet tall and 30 to 40 feet wide.
It was named the 2004 “Urban Tree of the Year” by the Society of Municipal Arborists.
At the base of the tree is an engraved stone, reading “This tree is dedicated in loving memory of Chester Gwozdz, proud World War II veteran.”
This is the 16th year that Rossford has been named a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation.
Rossford meets the four standards to become a Tree City: a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, a comprehensive community forestry program and an Arbor Day observance.
The other tree commission members are Vickie Gallagher, Betty Woods, John Folcik, Dave Merrell, Barb Montague, City Administrator Ed Ciecka, Finance Director Karen Freeman, Public Works Superintendent Tyler Kolb and Council member Caroline Zuchowski Eckel.
The Journal office in Perrysburg now has the following new hours of operation:
Monday: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday-Friday: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Rossford lies at the heart of the Crossroads of America, an area experiencing tremendous economic growth, located at the crossroads of Interstate 75 and the Ohio Turnpike. The city's population of approximately 6,000 is primarily a mix of descendants of Polish, Czechoslovakian, German and Ukrainian workers who came from Pennsylvania to work at the glass plant, now Pilkington.
Rossford was incorporated as a village in 1939 and as a city in 1971. The City is a municipal corporation which operates under its own charter and is governed by a mayor and seven-member City Council. Rossford is served by full-time police and part-time fire departments, dispatched from the neighboring Village of Walbridge.
The City maintains a Community Recreation Center and three parks, one of which,Veterans Memorial Park, features a seasonal marina along with picnic areas and diamonds and courts for baseball, tennis, basketball and volleyball.
Rossford has three elementary schools, Glenwood, Indian Hills and Eagle Point, a junior high and high school and All Saints parochial school for grades pre-kindergarten through eight.
The city boasts a public library and many service and community organizations such as the Rossford Business Association, Lions Club and Veterans of Foreign Wars. Its Rossford Community Service League sponsors annual activities such as a Valentine's Day Dance, Easter egg hunt, Halloween, Memorial Day parades and their Christmas tree lighting.
Liability for errors and/or omissions in publication of any advertisement by the ROSSFORD RECORD JOURNAL, whether due to negligence or otherwise, is limited to rerunning without charge that portion of the advertisement published incorrectly. In case of error or omission, the publisher will, upon request, furnish the advertiser with a letter stating that such error or omission occurred. The ROSSFORD RECORD JOURNAL will not be responsible for errors or omissions in any advertising beyond the first insertion or for errors in electronically submitted ads. Other than as stated above. The ROSSFORD RECORD JOURNAL assumes no responsibility or liability for any monetary loss or damages resulting from any error or omission. All copy is subject to the approval of the publisher, who reserves the right to reject or cancel any submission at any time. The opinions expressed in paid advertisements and/or letters to the Editor which are published in The ROSSFORD RECORD JOURNAL do not necessarily reflect the opinion or philosophy of The ROSSFORD RECORD JOURNAL.