Past Recipients

Fall 2014: Billy Lacy
Spring/Summer 2013: Pete Twitchell
Winter 2012: Bernice Wachtell
Fall 2012: June Metcalf

Billy Lacy About Billy Lacy
      LOCAL ARTIST FROM JEROMESVILLE, Billy Lacy was selected as The June Metcalf Elder in Residence for Fall 2014.
      Billy Lacy creates beautiful and unusual wearable art from his studio in Jeromesville, Ohio. His creations start with raw stones of turquoise or other natural minerals, carved into traditional or contemporary styles. Billy opened his studio in 1993 basically doing jewelry repairs for neighbors and friends. Since that time he has created some of the most unique jewelry and metal works in traditional Native American and contemporary designs.
      Most of his designs start with a drawing and from there he uses the uniqueness of the stone he is working with to create the piece. Billy will sit down with his customers and create that perfect piece to your specifications.
      Billy has won ribbons and award at several art shows including the Manatee Festival in Florida, Best New Artist and Best in Show at Indian Summer in Milwaukee Wisconsin and Second Place at Rancocus Indian Art Festival in New Jersey.

Pete Twitchell About Pete Twitchell
      Rural Ashland county resident, home builder, and stone mason Pete Twitchell has been selected as The June Metcalf Elder in Residence for Spring/Summer 2013.
      Active as a Sergeant Major in the local Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps, Twitchell has enlisted the help of many volunteers in the creation of a community garden at the Kroc Community Center, as well as designing and building the Kroc Plaza Stone Art Wall located on the east walkway of the Center.Pete Twitchell
      Twitchell's gifts and talents extend to the wider community as witnessed by his lifelong commitment to Christian service which has taken him to the remote Mosquito Coast of Honduras and to Cranks Creek, Kentucky, where he has been instrumental in bringing medical, physical, educational, and spiritual support to people in need. Active with The Gideons International, Twitchell also serves in youth and adult ministry. A reception was held in his honor in July at the Kroc Center.

Bernice Wachtel About Bernice Wachtel
     It is not difficult to get excited about Abraham Lincoln when one is in the presence of Bernice “Bunny” Wachtel of Ashland, selected as The June Metcalf Elder in Residence for Winter 2013.
     Wachtel was honored at a reception attended by family and friends on Lincoln’s birthday, Tuesday, February 12, at the Kroc Corps Community Center in Ashland.Bernice Wachtel
     Known as “Grandma Bunny,” Wachtel was nominated by her granddaughter, Joni Atkins – her “biggest fan” – who accompanied Judy McLaughlin, program coordinator, on a recent visit to Wachtel’s home. Surrounded by her over 400-volume personal library, Wachtel recalled being fascinated by Abraham Lincoln when she was six or seven years old after seeing a picture of the young Lincoln lying in front of a fire reading a book. She recounted that although he was poor, he found value in reading. Wachtel’s childhood interest grew into nine decades of collecting books and memorabilia.
     Born in Loudonville, Wachtel noted that all the members of her large family were readers and that she could remember her first book and library card. She has had an active life which has included marriage, family, and hard work, including a time with the Loudonville Post Office where she was given the nickname of “parcel packin’ Mama.”
     Wachtel continues to write poetry and enjoys speaking to groups, recalling fascinating details of the life of the sixteenth president. Because of her own love of humor, she includes many amusing stories about this complex man, using his own quotations. In addition, Wachtel has created numerous scrapbooks, memorized The Gettysburg Address, and received visits from other Lincoln scholars.
     But she is quick to remind others that she loves her Lincoln collection, but she counts her family as her most treasured possession.
     As an Elder in Residence, Wachtel will participate in scheduled activities at the Kroc Center, teaching others from her wealth of Lincoln expertise and bringing along some favorite items from her collection. This ongoing desire to share her knowledge with others led to her being recognized as the Winter 2013 June Metcalf Elder in Residence. This program is designed to honor adults 62 years and older and create opportunities for their skills to be shared with others in the community, program coordinator Judy McLaughlin said in a news release. For more information about the June Metcalf Elder in Residence program, call The Kroc Center, 419.281.8001.

June Metcalf About June Metcalf
     June Metcalf was the first person to come to our Knitting/Crocheting Circle. Over time, June became mainstay at the Kroc Center.
     Since the doors opened in 2009, she has been present in the Gathering Space on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to share her love for all things knitted and crocheted. June Metcalf
     Although our faithful leader is no longer here, she will always be with us in spirit. Our dear June has built a lasting family of knitters and crocheters who all work together to teach, learn and grow from one another. Please feel free to join the family. Bring your projects (no matter what charity or purpose) and if you have a question, the family will all be there to help! If you don’t know how to knit or crochet, come learn and join the family!
     The Knitting & Crocheting Circle meets Tuesdays & Wednesdays: 9-11AM in our Gathering Space.

     In the Buckeye Nation, the rallying cry heard round the state is “O-H,” with the automatic response, “I-O.” Diehard Ohio State fans take special pride if their infant’s first recognizable utterance is “I-O” rather than “ma-ma.” A call and response can often be heard in church settings, political rallies and the sports arena, but I was surprised to hear a similar pattern at the recent reception for the first Kroc Center Elder in Resident.
     “If in doubt,” the speaker called, and the voices replied, “rip it out.” The honoree of the evening was June Metcalf, an Ashland octogenarian whose gift for knitting and crocheting will be featured over the next few weeks. She’s been a mainstay at the Kroc Center since the doors opened, present in the lobby on Tuesdays and Wednesday to share her love for all things knitted and crocheted. In the early days, she often sat alone, sometimes joined by a staff member or two who was attempting to find the “knit one, purl two” rhythm of the needles.
     Now, three years later, you’ve got to come early to get one of the comfy seats, as the lobby area fills with people initially drawn together by an interest in yarn, but now held together by a sense of belonging. While their rallying cry may be “if in doubt, rip it out,” another word of wisdom from June is her oft-repeated phrase, “you can do it.” That spirit of encouragement and affirmation is contagious, and made June the obvious choice for the first Elder in Residence.
     It’s been three months since Larry and I handed over the reins of leadership at the Salvation Army, and I’ve had time to ponder on the hopes we’d brought to the center, both from our own hearts and experiences and from Joan Kroc’s legacy and vision. Many of those dreams were expressed in the naming of the spaces in the new facility.
     It made sense to call the gym area the Fun Zone, and lots of fun has been experienced in its space and in the companion Field House (soccer field). Between the roller skaters, the bounce house bouncers, the budding soccer stars and the graceful dancers at the KC Big Band events, there’ve been plenty of smiles and lots of laughter in the building, especially within the walls of the Fun Zone. Good choice of names.
     A space for worship at the Salvation Army was also essential, and the chapel with its glorious stained-glass wall invites many to express their faith through prayer and praise. Yet we chose to name a smaller room the “Sacred Space,” and that’s become a home for all kinds of sacred activities, as people have come together to study the Bible, to support families through the Salvation Army’s LINCS program and the Family and Children’s First Council care team meetings, and to simply have a quiet setting for personal counsel under the watchful eyes of the stained-glass Jesus and the children. Another fitting choice.
     A third name assigned in those early days of planning was the Gathering Place, a title that didn’t seem to stick, as most of the time we simply called it the Lobby. Boring. Yes, it is a vestibule, an entrance hall to the facility that serves as a reception area for the Center. But as I thought about June and the knitting circle, I realized that whether it’s called the Gathering Place or not, this entrance area has become the center’s front porch, a place for all people in our community to gather together. It’s rivaled in the summer by the Adirondack chairs of the backyard spraypark, but year round, the Gathering Place brings people of all ages, backgrounds, and interests together. While a sense of inclusion may have started with Joan’s dream, it has been richly nurtured by June’s faithfulness.
     I can’t wait to see who the next Elder in Residence will be – and what his or her gifts are bringing to our community. But in the meantime, whether in the Gathering Place at the Kroc or the yarn aisle at the store, I’m ready. If I hear “when in doubt,” I’m answering, “rip it out!” Yeah, June!