By JACK FETTER

It has been over a month since the Bicentennial kick-off event and I keep reflecting on the great impact it had on me since I moved to Paulding County as a vo-ag/FFA teacher in 1967.

Roy Klopfenstein told me before the event they had very little directions on how to coordinate the celebration. What a miracle then happened with a team of outstanding Paulding leaders that “came to bat” with this event. Every speaker did an awesome job.

Consider the fact that Paulding County was one of the last counties to be settled and yet had one of the highest percentages of men in the entire state that served in the Civil War. Over 2,250 men served and 180 of them lost their lives. In WWI, over 1,200 men served and seven women served as nurses. Over 2,000 men from Paulding County served in WWII and some even left high school to serve.

What a treat it was to tour the courthouse (even with snow on my back). Bryce Steiner and his committee did a remarkable job. I truly believe it is a monument of history like no other in this state and possibly the country. I did not know North Rochester was the first county seat followed by Charloe as the second county seat.

I exhort everyone to visit the courthouse. The first exhibit is amazing with those who served our country and pictured in front of the Armory, which is now Branch Fellowship Church, where our Bicentennial service was held.

Before the cerebration, I was so blessed to see how this Armory was converted to an amazing church setting.

Years ago, I had a debate with Charles Cunningham if the Kiwanis Club should buy the building for $1 from the town. We bought it, but the next month Lloyd Parson Jr., Chuck Boss and I faced a $500 heating bill. It was a risk, but it really turned out to be a blessing.

Governor DeWine commented that night that every time he comes to Paulding County he leaves with the impression that this is a family community.

I praise the Lord that 53 years ago, we were blessed to raise our family in Paulding County. We appreciated many of the programs such as scouting, 4-H and Campus Life/YFC that our children were able to experience. As a family, we are so thankful for the spiritual encouragement through the local church which meant a lot to us.

Congratulations again to all who were involved in this amazing event.