Two community leaders have come forward after the Bexley Celebrations Association issued a call for volunteers to head up the city's popular Fourth of July festivities.
Outgoing leader Anne Lewis, who announced earlier this year that she would step aside to pursue other interests and provide others with an opportunity to get involved, said an Oct. 29 meeting at Jeffrey Mansion attracted a small crowd, but added, "We had some success with those who did attend.
"We need new leadership for BCA with a specific focus on the Fourth of July," she said. "We also hope to partner with the Bexley Community Foundation as far as fundraising."
Lewis said she was pleased with the progress made during the meeting.
"Although I have a couple of additional people to follow up with who couldn't attend, I have an agreement from Dr. Pete Stanos and Mr. Peter Roberts to lead the parade with my assistance in 2013."
Stanos, a Stanwood Road resident, was born and raised in Boardman. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1986 and a doctor of osteopathic medicine degree from the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1990. He served an internship at Doctors Hospital and completed a residency at the University of Kentucky.
He served as president and CEO of Stanos Rehabilitation & Pain Management from 1994-2006 and has been president and CEO of Healthcare Career Solutions LLC from 2006 to the present. He also founded Peter Stanos Associates Inc. in March 2012.
He has been a resident of Columbus for 20 years and has resided in Bexley for the past six years.
"My dad taught and instilled in us at a very early age the importance of civic pride and involvement," Stanos said. "We were always on the go with him, whether it was Easter Seals, Boardman Boosters, Rotary, or Lion's Club ... our weekends were committed to giving back to the place we called home.
"When I lived in Dublin, I never felt that sense or need to be involved in the community. I'm not sure if I was too busy with my medical practice or because of the size. I never felt I could contribute in a meaningful way."
When he moved to Bexley, that all changed.
"I guess I landed at the right spot at the right time," he said. "Even as an 'outsider' to Bexley, I was welcomed and immediately realized this was the perfect place to raise my children and hopefully teach them the same values of civic pride, spirit and involvement my father taught us. Also, 'The Oracle,' Mayor John Brennan, taught me so much about his love and vision of our community during our neighborly chats that my need to become involved in any way grew even greater. These strong civic values and the BCA leadership of Anne Lewis, Tim Madison, Mayor (Ben) Kessler, and all of Bexley Parks and Recreation are a tremendous influence in my decision to join the team."
Roberts, a longtime resident and executive recruiter, refers to himself as the "Unofficial Mayor of South Bexley." He planned to run for mayor in the 2011 election but did not have enough valid signatures on his nominating petition.
"I chose to get involved with Bexley Celebrations because I love Bexley," Roberts said. "I know how much people appreciate all the activities and excitement that the Fourth of July brings to the city of Bexley. Bexley is a fantastic place filled with fantastic people, which is why I enjoy volunteering my time to such a great community."
Roberts grew up in Bexley and graduated from Bexley High School in 1989. He holds a bachelor's degree from Capital University. Roberts and his wife, Suzy, have lived in Bexley for 35 years.
"My wife is also a Bexley grad and our two boys are on the way to being Bexley grads in several years," he said.
Roberts also is the vice president of the Bexley Athletic Boosters.
Lewis said the next steps aren't easily defined.
"There are both short- and long-term next steps that need to be discussed," she said. "Short term, I will meet with Pete and Peter to discuss the parade in more detail. I will also meet with the foundation to discuss how we can work together. Tim Madison will work with his evening team to discuss 2013 and I will confirm our expected leads for the 5K. Besides that, next steps must examine a longer-term more sustainable approach to the Fourth. This is not a city event -- despite some city support. It is run by volunteers and can't continue without people's commitment. Also, I think we need to think about our city's events as a broader support to our 'brand,' to our development, commerce, etc."
Lewis said anyone who couldn't attend the Oct. 29 meeting is invited to attend future meetings.
"We will be holding another meeting in January," she said. "We encourage people to bring three to five friends or family members. Until then, anyone can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org."