Over the years in my career with Ohio State University Extension, I have enjoyed working with many different groups and individuals. That was one of the extra benefits of the job.
Working with people isn't always easy but does have its rewards when they are able to move ahead to accomplish a goal. Sure, it may take some patience. At the same time, I have met some of the finest folks anywhere. Money won't buy some of the friendships I have as a result of groups I have worked with.
In retirement, I have continued to be involved with several enjoyable groups. One of those is the Trumbull County Food and Agriculture Committee that meets the first Friday of each month from September through May. This organization has a breakfast meeting at the Gustavus Federated Church with one of the best pancake, sausage and pure maple syrup breakfasts you will find. And the women and men of the church do an excellent job of preparing and serving the food.
Anyone with an interest in agriculture or rural Trumbull County is welcome. There is an interesting spirit of camaraderie at these breakfasts. President Ed Agler from Bristol, with his droll sense of humor, takes some kidding, but he also dishes it out. After breakfast, each person is asked to introduce themselves and tell where they are from. If they have an announcement or want to mention something of interest to the group, they have that opportunity.
Meetings are educational with a different speaker each month. In October, state Rep. Deborah Newcomb spoke about state legislation of interest to rural and agricultural Trumbull County. In November, Cindy Zaebst, from Bossy's Way Farm in New Lyme, will talk about the "Role of a Dairy Farm Wife" and their contributions to the farming operation. December will bring Robert Miller from Gustavus, who will talk about wind energy development in the area. We have a nice variety of interesting speakers.
Folks from across Trumbull County enjoy these breakfasts. A good group from the Kinsman-Gustavus area always come hungry. Another group from the Braceville area comes regularly. I kiddingly call them the Braceville Gang. Folks from Lordstown, Newton Falls, Johnson, Bristol, Bloomfield, Hartford and more come most months.
As I listen to them before and during breakfast, I hear a lot of excellent visiting going on, a sign they are enjoying the morning. Reservations are not needed. The church group accepts the number that come and does a great job of feeding us. Most organizations would want some idea of the number to expect, but these folks are flexible and handle the group that can vary from 35 to 60 in attendance. We always appreciate them and the way they work with us.
Some years ago, I chaired a committee that worked with county commissioners to find land and build the Trumbull County Agriculture and Family Education Center. This was a great experience, especially on the day we were able to dedicate the new facility in Cortland, one of the finest of its kind in Ohio.
While I was never involved much in the political world, I found our county commissioners to be interested, cooperative and helpful. They worked with us every step of the way.
Our volunteer committee was a working group representing many interests in the county. We worked closely with the architect to develop the building plans which took considerable time because five agricultural agencies were to be housed in the new building. They each had different needs, so it took some planning and give and take.
Finding a good building site was another experience. We were most fortunate to be able to have a beautiful site donated by the Delphi Corporation when they found out what the building would be used for. To get this parcel took some time.
These were experiences I had after I retired, and, as I said earlier, I worked with some very fine people. I could go on with my work in the Amish community helping them re-organize their cooperative and build a new cheese house, but that is another story.
For me, life in retirement continues to be interesting and exciting, for which I am most thankful!
Parker grew up in Trumbull County and is a freelance writer for the Tribune.