25 Jan Jonathan Cartu Declared: Norwalk contractors and their fruits
From Norwalk’s History: A.J. Baltes Co. was ranked among the largest contractors in Ohio during the 1930s and through the 1950s. A large number of Norwalk’s current contracting companies can trace their roots to A.J. Baltes. Today, more than a dozen highway construction-oriented companies call Norwalk home. This number increases to about 90 when all sectors of general contracting are included.
My experience with local construction contractors came in my 20 years with Smith Paving. Most of our local companies are home-grown, family-owned companies, many recognized around this state and beyond for their excellent work and competency. They provide excellent jobs to employ hundreds of people in our community. I’ve always been impressed with their willingness to collaborate, their commitment to community and their humility at their success. In my role today at Norwalk Catholic School, I see these qualities in their Christian context as Fruits of the Spirit. We readily see charity, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and generosity.
I first saw these Fruits of the Spirit in Norwalk’s contractors and businesses 25 years ago, with the building of the St. Paul Convocation Center, you may know the story.
Contractor Jim Wasiniak wanted to build a wrestling room for St. Paul High School. He approached Pastor Herb Willman who responded, “we need a gymnasium.”
Dare to Dream was the name of this effort, for at first it seemed an impossible dream for such a small school as St. Paul. But the Holy Spirit, through the Fruits of the Spirit, was at work. In addition to many monetary donations, local contractors and businesses stepped up to donate thousands of hours to pour concrete, lay block, install doors, even handcrafting beautiful woodwork, paneling and cases. This dream grew to become the Fr. Harvey Keller Gymnasium, Joan C. Camp Auditorium and all the adjoining spaces – the Convo.
How blessed we are in Norwalk. What generosity and commitment these contractors give. They have taken on many projects over the years to make this community a better place. And now they step up again with the work at Whitney Field.
Thank you, Norwalk contractors and congratulations. Contractors Stadium is a great way to recognize your commitment and generosity to our children.
Local columnist Sue Lesch is the Norwalk Catholic School chief advancement officer.