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Volume 135 Number 45 Bluffton, Ohio 45817 $1.50
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On Friday, November 11, 2011, the nation will be observing Veterans Day. A ceremony in Bluffton will be held at 10:30 a.m. at the high school, with a demonstra-tion of properly retiring an American fl ag (weath-er permitting) and several local speakers will share a few words. One of the speakers will be lifelong resident Morris Groman, a veteran of the Korean War. Groman graduated from BHS in 1947 and had several classmates enlist in the military, however, he decided to continue his education right away and attended Bluffton College. He started off in pre-engi-neering but then switched his course of study to chemistry, which was a decision he would later be very thankful for. Not long after receiving his degree, in chemistry, he was drafted into the war. He was sent off to infantry basic training in Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, where he spent 16 weeks. He pro-ceeded to spend a month in Fort Lee, Virginia and then went to petroleum school, when it opened, in Staten Island for 23 weeks. Eventually Groman was sent overseas, where he would spend seven months over in Korea, working with petro-leum products the military utilized at that time. Since there was no refi n-ery in Korea, supplies such
as motor gas and jet fuel had to be shipped in (from Japan). Groman, along with others he worked with, were responsible for the quality of petroleum products used by the Army, Air Force, Marines and all civilians, to ensure these items were not contaminated. His expertise in the fi eld of chemistry kept him largely out of harms way while serving in Korea. Dr. Richard Weaver was my chemistry professor and I told him a couple of years ago, indirectly he may have
helped saved my life. Since I had a chemistry degree it kept me from being out in the foxholes. I was fortu-nate in many ways, really, Groman said. However, suddenly being drafted and sent to a differ-ent part of the country and then eventually shipped off to a different continent, cer-tainly weighed on Gromans mind, as it would for any-body else in that situation.
At the household of Phil and Pam Weisenbarger, of Bluffton, a third member of the family resides in the garage, and that is a 1930 Franklin Victoria Brougham called Frankie (as dubbed by Pam). No matter how fond most people may be of their vehicle, most would probably not consider their car a member of the family. But, after much time and hard work, considering how much joy the car has brought to Phil and Pam, it is only natural for Frankie to be a pseudo member of the Weisenbarger family.
Phil has always had a love for cars. It stems back to 1957 when he and his father pur-chased an automobile. Then several years later, in 1961, when Phil was 19 years old, he was driving around in Ada, just looking for old cars (as he routinely did back then), and saw something he could not pass up. On the corner of Route 81 and Main Street (in Ada), sat the 1930 Frank-lin Victoria Brougham. Phil spent every penny he had to purchase the vehicle.
I looked at it on the street corner and went back to my father and told him what it was. He was excited and en-couraged me to get it. He ac-
tually loaned me a hundred dollars, which I had to pay back later, but we went over and bought the car, Phil said.
Phil bought the car from a gentleman named Harlo Povenmire, who had bought the car new in Lima, Ohio. Although the car was in good shape when he purchased it, there were many components that needed to be added and restored for the car to be com-plete. He drove the Franklin around for three years before running into a mechanical problem, which sort of started the beginning of the restora-tion project, as he would con-tinue to work on it through the late 60s and early 70s. However, as life went on and the children came along, there was less and less time to dedicate to the car and even-tually the Franklin would make its way through several storage garages around town. But, within the last decade, as life has gotten a little less hectic, Phil has been able to put in the time and work the car has needed, especially now that he has been retired for four years.
On top of the time com-mitment and energy spent, the diffi culty in acquiring parts for the rare vehicle added to making the restoration pro-cess a painstaking one.
The challenge is, fi rst of
all, to fi nd the part. Second of all, to fi nd someone who has it and wants to sell. And, third, is to fi nd it at a price that is reasonable, Phil said.
No matter what is on the list, in regards to fi xing the car, Phil said there always seemed to be something new that popped up that often led to a change in the direction of the project.
You have to work piece by piece and part by part, you end up going down side roads all the time. You thought you were going to get this done this week and never even get back to it, Phil said.
This past August, the car was fi nally fi nished. How-ever, fi nished should be a word used loosely, as there is always some tweaking to be done along the way, as both Phil and Pam pointed out.
Since the Franklin has been in Phils possession for so long (50 years) it has not only become a hobby for him, but for his wife Pam as well. Pam has not only helped hold and hand parts to Phil while he has worked on the car, she has also encouraged him to continue to restore it through-out the years, when it seemed like it never would be fi n-ished.
Morris Gromans military photo. Submitted by Morris Groman
continued on page A8
Lifelong Bluffton Native Shares Military Experience
See Page A3 for Information on See Page A3 for Information on Blufftons Veterans Day ObservanceBlufftons Veterans Day Observance
Local Classic Car Enthusiast Completes 50-Year Project
Members of the Bluffton Hospital pose with the teddy bears that are handed out to pediatric patients. Left to right: Bill Watkins, Deb Weihrauch, Tom Troph, Nicki Keuneke, Amy Beach and Kayla Hughes. Photo by Austin Arnold
by Austin Arnold
continued on page A3
Election Day Lunch, Nov. 8, 2011
Pam and Phil Weisenbarger stand in front of their 1930 Franklin. Photo by Austin Arnold
Seven years ago, in the fall of 2004, a notable partnership between a lo-cal business and the Bluff-ton Hospital began. Gregs Pharmacy began donating teddy bears to children vis-iting the ER department at Bluffton Hospital. It is es-timated that 500 to 1,000 teddy bears are donated each year, as they are handed out on a daily basis to pediatric patients and anyone else that may be comforted by them, including special needs adults. Nicki Keuneke, clinical manager of the ER department, said the bears provide a little comfort to the patients she works with.
It helps boost their spir-its a little bit, it [the ER] can be a pretty scary place for
them at times, so it helps a lot, Keuneke said. When they get the bears, they usu-ally have a big smile on their face, because theyre usu-ally not expecting it.
The teddy bear fund was started by a Wapako-neta man named Russell A. McLean, who initially start-ed handing out teddy bears in Lima Hospitals many years ago. The effort then spread to all hospitals in Al-len County and soon Bluff-ton Hospital was included. The teddy bear fund was promoted by Easter Straker, a former host of a Lima tele-vision program, making it a popular cause. However, after the two infl uential promoters retired, the teddy bear fund became essen-tially exhausted until Greg Conkling, owner of Gregs
Pharmacy, decided to step in and provide teddy bears to Bluffton Hospital exclusive-ly, after some persuasion from Bluffton Community Hospital Auxiliary member Mary Emma Triplett.
Now, Gregs Pharmacy works in conjunction with the Bluffton Community Hospital Auxiliary to make sure the bears are in ade-quate supply at the hospital to be handed out to the ap-propriate patients.
I think its a great idea for children to be able to come to the hospital and have a friendly teddy bear by their side while they are there. Were happy to partic-ipate in anything that helps the community and people as well, Conkling said.
Teddy Bear Fund Marches into Another Year at Hospital
by Austin Arnold
by Austin Arnold
Bluffton First United Methodist Church held its annual Election Day Lunch and Supper on Tuesday, November 8, 2011. Additional photos of the lunch can be found on page A3. Photo by Kathryn Tschuor