Worthington News

White, Lorimer inducted into Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame

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Worthington residents Chuck White and James Lorimer were inducted into the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame during a May 20 ceremony at the Ohio Statehouse.

They were among 12 new members this year and join more than 400 people who have been inducted since 1978.

This year's inductees ranged in age from 72 to 95.

White was the first African-American on-air television broadcaster in Ohio and has had a long career with WBNS-10TV. Early in his career, he co-produced, co-wrote and performed as a puppeteer on the children's program, Luci's Toy Shop, for 14 years. He also was anchor of the weekend news and co-anchored the daily news with the late Chet Long.

White served Channel 10 in many ways over the years, earning three Emmy Awards along the way and retiring as the station's public-affairs director.

For more than 25 years, White was executive producer of the Children's Miracle Network telethon, which has raised more than $10.3 million for Nationwide Children's Hospital of Columbus.

He helped feed the hungry in central Ohio as executive producer of the Food Parade for the Operation Feed and United Way campaigns and the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

He founded and served as executive director of the WBNS-10TV Family Fund, which helped more than 100,000 central Ohio families and provided more than 800,000 meals for needy families during the holidays.

White also established a Columbus chapter of the Jefferson Awards program to honor those who have helped build a culture of service in Columbus and surrounding communities. He is an honorary board member of Employment for Seniors, a local organization that helps older adults continue to grow, thrive and contribute through employment.

In 2000 and 2002, White was invited by the U.S. Department of State to address an international seminar on fund-raising for nonprofit organizations in Slovenia and in four cities throughout Ukraine. Since April 2008, he has served on the Ohio Commission on Service and Volunteerism.

White and his wife of 52 years, Bernice, raised three sons. He sings professionally and is a gourmet cook. He stays active by physically working out at the gym, gardening and reading.

With a handshake in 1975, Lorimer and Arnold Schwarzenegger set in motion a plan that would position central Ohio as an international stage for fitness promotion and competition.

Lorimer began his journey into sports promotion in the 1950s. After a disappointing performance by the U.S. women's track team, Lorimer worked with the Columbus recreation department to create an Olympic development program. He believed that to be the best in a sport, an athlete had to have the best training, and he strived to ensure that his program provided it.

In the1960s, he was appointed secretary of the U.S. Olympic Committee for Women's Athletics and later became chairman of the U.S. Olympic Committee for that sport.

Lorimer met Schwarzenegger in 1970, when he produced the television coverage at the Mr. World competition helped launch Schwarzenegger's career. He was so impressed with how well the contest was organized that he traveled from a competition in London, England, to another competition in Columbus on the next day.

Schwarzenegger told Lorimer that when he retired from competing, he wanted to promote and expand the sport, and he would return to Columbus to join him in a sports-promotion partnership.

The result was the Arnold Classic professional bodybuilding contest, which grew into the Arnold Sports Festival, held annually in early March in Columbus. The festival today features 50 sports and events, including 13 olympic sports. More than 18,000 athletes compete over the festival weekend, representing 50 states and more than 80 nations. The festival is one of the largest tourist attractions in central Ohio, bringing more than 175,000 visitors and generating more than $42.4 million in spending each year.

The Arnold Sports Festival has expanded internationally. In 2015, Arnold Sports Festival events will be presented in Brazil, Spain, Australia, China and Columbus.

Lorimer was inducted into the 2012 International Sports Hall of Fame. He was appointed by President George W. Bush to the President's Council on Physical Fitness. He received the 2005 Iron Man Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2002 Arnold Schwarze-negger Classic Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1998, he earned the Greater Columbus Hospitality Award.

Lorimer and his wife, Jean, have been married 65 years and have three children and four grandchildren.

He served as Worthington mayor from 1967 to 1979 and again from 1996 to 97. He currently serves as the city's vice mayor.

He also is a veteran of World War II, an attorney and former FBI agent and had a 37-year career as vice president of government affairs for Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.

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