John Taylor is president of a local insurance agency in Warren, Ohio. Clyde Cole, Jr. is the president of an automobile dealership, and both men have full lives with their respective businesses and families. However, a local high school principal’s call to the community for help changed their lives.
Taylor and Cole were made aware of a request to clean up the property near Western Reserve Junior High School. The dedication of these men and other volunteers not only resulted in the high school being cleaned, but the entire community was redeveloped. The Westlawn area of Warren was built as temporary housing during World War II, and they clearly had structural and safety issues.
Renovation of the existing houses in Westlawn was not an appropriate solution. The most viable answer was to clear the entire area and rebuild with new homes. The City of Warren had tried to do so for several years, but they had not been able to organize a program to do so. They needed a comprehensive movement that would address the issues on their side of town.
Taylor and Cole took on the project as a challenge, and their goal was to do something that the city government had not been able to accomplish throughout the years. The pair gave many volunteer hours and even used their own resources to support a line of credit with a local bank.
At the project’s inception, it was obvious that they could not just do the work. The program had to also take into consideration the families affected by this great undertaking. They set up additional programs to relocate families, help in finding employment, and assist those who had medical considerations.
Taylor and Cole were the organizers. They held many meetings with local and state officials. In addition, they made trips to several communities with successful housing and community redevelopment programs to get ideas and be sure their plans were in order. Within a short period of time, these two heroes corrected a community problem that many had seen for years and chosen to ignore. They risked their money and investing personal funds and time in an undertaking for which success was not certain.
Many did not understand their motivation, but the two businessmen felt they should give back to their community. However, this project seemed to be quite a bit more than giving back. It was more like creating a new community in which to give. Taylor and Cole are motivated by their desire to give back to the community. Also, their faith causes them to act in love; even if that means to risk some of themselves to help others. The work was not for attention or the limelight; however, the two men wanted to share some of their blessings and expertise with others.