Two selected as Oxford Citizens of the Year

Molly bowers franklin

Bringing more than music to the community, Molly Bowers Franklin provided a wide variety of music to the community as enjoyable entertainment during the pandemic, when any diversion was welcome.

His dozens of daily Sequester series videos featured original musical vignettes, scenes from famous shows, comedy skits, and musical selections featuring local musicians, family and friends. Several nominations highlighted that she had spent thousands of hours giving of herself creating shows that brought laughter, music, inspiration and joy to so many members of the community.

All of them have been posted on Facebook for free viewing.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, she was providing monthly music therapy to a large number of nursing / retirement homes in Butler County, but the shutdown ended that and left her with no income. .

An appointment from her mother, Nora Ellen Bowers, said: “Instead of looking for another job, she immediately got into creating entertaining videos that she uploaded to Facebook – for free.”

In another nomination, Anne Settevendemie Ritz summed up the effort and its value to viewers of her Sequester series.

“When our options for human interaction became limited, Molly brought us to life. Every day brought inspiration, laughter or laughter, ”wrote Settevendemie Ritz. “Molly Bowers Franklin has surely made our city a better place.”

This nomination went on to explain that viewers never knew which character might appear,

“Someday there might be ‘Normal Molly’ in her garden strumming while singing the old hymn ‘In the Garden’ or singing ‘The Very Thought of You’ while playing the piano. The next day, a mustached “Pavarotti Molly” could row in a gondola (rowboat) on her backyard pond singing the famous tune “Nessun Dorma” in a false Italian. Another might feature Molly as “Lois,” the culturally challenged 1950s southern chef, creating delicious but inedible meals in her kitchen, ”she wrote. ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’ starred Molly as Loretta Lynn, playing guitar among her backyard goats. She performed a Mozart classic on a scale of beer bottles filled with water. Every day , she created a new character (in costume) to entertain Edith Piaf sang “La Vie en Rose” while accompanying herself on the accordion. Johnny Cash, Charlie Chaplin, Dolly Parton appeared singing their signature songs. Also on the poster were lively songs sung by Molly’s family group, which includes her husband Tom, Joseph and Lucy. “

Other members of the community were invited to join in the fun, including teacher Sue Killy “signing” the voice, her mother and sister, Lisa Biales and Scott Shriver.

“With instructions from her brother Jake, Molly quickly learned the technical skills necessary to mix and coordinate the different parts of a performance when players had to stay in separate places,” wrote Settevendemie Ritz.

Dave belka

Dave Belka has been described in the nominations as a tireless volunteer in the Oxford community and his involvement with the Oxford Kiwanis Club has given him a platform to excel.

He chairs the Community Service Committee, created new service projects for the Oxford community, recruiting and organizing volunteers from Kiwanis and the Oxford community. He organized two virtual service projects to raise food and funds for the Talawanda Oxford Pantry and Social Services and the Oxford Senior Center.

He has written numerous grant applications to the Ohio Kiwanis Foundation to obtain COVID supplies for schools in Talawanda and received a grant of $ 3,000, as well as a prize of $ 500 for TOPSS to be used with the new refrigerated truck. .

A professor emeritus in the Department of Kinesiology and Health at the University of Miami, Belka also chaired the local Salvation Army ringing effort for the second year in 2021. Money from this effort helps the Family Resource Center. .

Feeding the hungry has been at the forefront of most of his efforts.

“During the COVID pandemic, he initiated and organized two virtual projects. One was a food drive for TOPSS which brought in 2,300 pounds of food donations as well as unsolicited contributions of $ 1,000. The second project helped the Oxford Senior Center raise 1,800 personal care and cleaning items, as well as $ 300 in unsolicited donations, ”wrote Bill Houk in one of the nominations for Belka.

Houk also noted that Belka was the author of two Ohio Kiwanis Foundation grants that were approved, giving the Talawanda School District $ 3,000 for COVID safety equipment in August 2020 and TOPSS $ 500 for operation. of the new refrigerated van in April 2021.

While a large portion of Belka’s community efforts involve doing actual volunteer work, he also exercises a leadership role in the efforts. Houk and Bob Carmean both praised his efforts with the Kiwanis Club Community Service Committee, which he has chaired since 2013 and served as co-chair two years previously.

Carmean wrote: “He has been instrumental in providing grants to many organizations and needs in Oxford. His leadership on Pancake Day and Chili Supper provided funds to enable Kiwanis to fulfill its mission. From TOPSS to the Family Resource Center, he gives back to the community. Her volunteering with the Oxford Museum Association Apple Butter Festival and the Greater Oxford Community Foundation Needs Awareness Committee extends her involvement throughout the vast land of Talawanda.

Houk explained that the winner recruited new service projects in May 2021 that gained approval from the Kiwanis board of directors and he invited Kiwanians to lead and participate in the projects.

“Several of these included providing volunteers for the Thursday night concert of August 5, painting the main building of the Family Resource Center (August), and collecting donations from Krogers and Walmart every Thursday for TOPSS.” , wrote Houk.

In addition to all of this, the nomination also noted that Belka has been active in the Southern Gateway Chorus since 1991 and has been the choir’s senior grant writer and top fundraiser.