My husband, Bobby, often tells people he is from “severe Revere” [Massachusetts]. I’m not sure what he means by this, other than that must have been what he and his friends called it when he was growing up in the city just north of Boston. (Really, it’s part of Boston like Euclid is part of Cleveland.) Bobby is the second child and first boy in his family. His father is from an anglo-saxon background and his mother is second generation Italian born in the USA. Bobby’s parents separated when he was a young boy and didn’t get back together until he was a teenager. This meant that Bobby was raised by his mother — and his very large extended Italian family.
So how does a boy from Revere end up making a name for himself in Wooster, Ohio? He marries a girl from a small town in Ohio, moves to Wooster, Ohio and becomes a reporter for The Daily Record. Then he spends the next 14 1/2 years meeting people, building relationships and proving he is a man of integrity. That’s how.
As a reporter, Bobby has spent many days (and more nights than I care to remember) in various meetings from city council meetings to school board meetings to township meetings to county commissioners meetings. He has interviewed city, county, state and federal officials all in an effort to provide the best information to his readers. I have heard him say more than once that he might get paid by The Daily Record, but he works for the readers. And Bobby did his job well. It is not unusual to be out for dinner at a Wooster establishment when we run into someone Bobby knows. Bobby always introduces me to these people, “Do you know my wife, Wendi?” is a common phrase that Bobby utters. Invariably the person/people will tell me how wonderful Bobby is and what a good reporter he is.
January 5, 2018 marked the last day Bobby worked at The Daily Record. He has started a new chapter in our lives by becoming a man of business. He is now the owner of Wooster Media Group. He will be helping other businesses expand and enhance their digital reach. (You can check out his website for more information about what this means.) But while Bobby was planning on ending his tenure at the paper with as little fanfare as possible, those who worked closely with Bobby decided otherwise.
I received a message from one of Bobby’s colleagues on Christmas night telling me that the county commissioners needed some information about Bobby. They planned to write a proclamation honoring Bobby and his coverage of the commissioners. Bobby had been covering Wayne County government for the last 10 or so years. I talked with Sue Smail, one of the commissioners and she explained they would be presenting Bobby with the proclamation on Wednesday, January 3. She graciously invited me to attend.
It was an honor to be there and to hear the commissioners, elected officals and many of the County’s department heads say wonderful things about my husband. (I, of course, know he is wonderful, it’s just nice to hear other people say it, too!) Words/phrases like fair, easy to talk to, integrity, and honest abounded throughout the room. Person after person got up and thanked Bobby for his work and fair reporting. They thanked him for writing the stories without a slant one way or the other which allowed the readers to make their own opinions. For some in the crowd, their previous experience with reporters from other newspapers were not good, but they complimented Bobby on his style and integrity. Not a few times did I get a little teary-eyed listening to them talk. Bobby jokingly asked if he could meet the guy they were talking about. See, that is my humble husband!
After the official part of the meeting was concluded, people crowded around Bobby to wish him well on his new adventure. They reminded him to stop by to see them and told him how much he would be missed. Bobby assured them all that the reporter who would be covering the County, Emily Morgan would do a great job for them. I’m sure she will, but she’ll have some big shoes to fill!
If Bobby had been surprised and humbled by the Commissioners’ words, then (not quite) speechless would be the way he responded when on Friday night he received a commendation from State Senator, Frank LaRose and Senate President Larry Obhof. This was at a get together that Bobby’s good friend, Greg Long, hosted at City Square Steakhouse. It was also after he turned in his final story on Greg and his wife, Kathy, making the Wooster Area Chamber of Commerce Wall of Fame. (Bobby is very glad to have that be his last story written for The Daily Record.)
Frank read the commendation in front the group. I watched as Bobby was struck by the meaning of it. I could tell he was touched and again humbled by the outpouring of respect toward him and his work. When people said to him, “you write in a way that lets the reader decide,” he’d respond with “that’s how I was taught.” To him, it is no big deal. To those he covered and wrote about, it is huge.
When we got home, Bobby reflected on the week’s events. He said the past week had reminded him of the last scene from Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. It is the scene where George Bailey gets a chance to see how much he is loved and respected in the community for all that he had done for them throughout the years. As Clarence the Angel told George “No man is a failure who has friends,” Bobby’s life can attest to this. And as George’s brother, Harry, made the toast, “To my brother, George, the richest man in town,” I think that same toast could be made to Bobby. As Bobby said, “Not bad for a boy from Revere raised by a single mom.” No, not bad at all.