The Summit County Farm Bureau Distinguished Service Award is the highest honor we can bestow on an individual. Choosing a worthy recipient from the many qualified can be difficult for the three previous winners, who are assigned the task. The award is given to a bona fide farmer who has made an outstanding contribution to their local community and the industry of agriculture. However, this year, it was not only easy but unanimous for us.
This year’s honoree has been a trustee on the Summit County Farm Bureau board since 2007 and has served as our Public Policy Action Team Leader for a number of years now, representing us at Ag Day at the Capital, each year. He oversees our Antique Museum building at the fairgrounds, moves our educational kiosk from one location to another, makes drop-offs and pickups from the office and is basically our secretary/treasurer’s “go for”! During the big oil and gas boom, a few years ago, he donated his expertise with many of our members, reviewing and explaining oil and gas lease language with many of them individually.
This year’s recipient was born and raised in Tallmadge, living there virtually all his life, before moving to Copley 12 years ago.
He is the oldest of five boys. His poor mother had five boys in five and half years – poor thing she had to just open the door every morning and release them to be raised by wolves.
He was raised with a very large extended family, having 58 first cousins – you know, one of those LARGE catholic families. Consequently, family was a very important part of his youth and being the oldest made our recipient close to his paternal grandparents, who lived next door. In fact he slept at their house each night through high school and college, when his grandfather died, soothing his grandmother’s fears of staying alone at night.
A good education was very important in his family, as well. In fact, our recipient was in the very FIRST class of Walsh Jesuit High School, the class of 1969. This was the time of the Viet Nam War and the “draft” which guided our recipient directly on to college. He graduated from the University of Akron with a degree in Structural Engineering, four years later.
He has been an active owner, partner and Professional Engineer for a number of the Walsh Family Group of Construction and Environmental Demolition and Remediation Companies and Real Estate Holdings for over 50 years.
Many do not know that he and a handful of “work” friends started an insurance company, American Safety, when they had difficulty getting insurance to cover their “environmental cleanup” projects. They owned and operated American Safety until it went public on the stock exchange.
He worked all over our United States as the supervising engineer on many sites, such as: the Superfund Site known as the Summit National Site or the Deerfield Dump, the exploratory excavation of buried underground storage tanks at the base of the Statue of Liberty, the decontamination of the bullet manufacturing equipment at the Hawthorne Army Depot in Nevada, the asbestos removal and environmental remediation of the Terminal Tower Complex known as Tower City Center in Cleveland, the cleaning of Armco Steel’s largest bag house facility at their Houston, Texas Steel Mill, the asbestos removal of the former Polsky’s Department Store Parking Deck in Akron now a part of the University of Akron Campus, the underground demolition and environmental remediation of the former Ohio State Penitentiary in Columbus, the Clean Ohio Remediation Project to clean up the former Armco Steel Mill Superfund Site in New Boston, Ohio, as well as numerous other projects and sites; near and far away.
His agriculture connection came from his father, a man who loved horses and was active in the American Quarter Horse world. Consequently, he and his brothers grew up with backyard ponies and horses when they were very young. His father purchased a farm in Brimfield and built an indoor arena for the boys, hoping to keep them out of trouble – ha ha ha, that didn’t work! They grew up active in 4-H at the Summit County fairgrounds. I am sure there are still stories of their escapades floating around the fairgrounds. He helped his father, a mason contractor, who volunteered much of his time and expertise at the fairgrounds over the years of the Central Ohio Saddle Club, building bathrooms and other structures. Our recipient continues his father’s commitment to the fairgrounds with his dedication to taking care of the Summit County Farm Bureau’s Antique Museum building, as well as addressing the repeated fairgrounds flooding issues with our county legislators.
Now, many of us may not understand the “hold” horses have on one’s soul. I’ve been told that once horses are in your blood, you are a slave to them forever and he continues this commitment to the equine world with his “significant other”, whose father trained HIS father’s horses. During their youth, there were horse shows every weekend. Many “horse show” kids not only hung out together at the shows, but developed life-long friends, some of which are here tonight to share in his surprise. Please join me in showing our appreciation to our 2017 Distinguished Service Award recipient, Tim Walsh.