NEW CONCORD Greg and Eileen Adams epitomize the sort of people who long ago inspired what has come to be a clichd expression: Pillars of the community. But look anywhere in New Concord and the surrounding area even the entire southeastern Ohio region and, if you are observant enough, you will see their influence and their support of the community.
Their presence may be easy to overlook because they are the last to claim credit in any endeavor and, in fact, much of their contribution has been made anonymously and cannot be revealed here.
But consider some of their more public contributions.
Greg, for example, is the mayor of the Village of New Concord, a public office in which he has served without fanfare for 25 years.
And, for 10 years, Eileen volunteered to direct and produce plays at the East Muskingum Middle School. She introduced hundreds of pre-teens to the world of theater and helped many to come out of their shells and shed their shyness.
Longtime friend, Matt Elli, said the Adamses always have embraced the importance of community.
Theyve always been devoted to family, he said. And they have been able to extend their sense of family and home to the community and the region.
Elli is not exaggerating when he says region. In the fall after he sold his business, Greg didnt step into an easy retirement. Instead, he accepted a position as the interim chief infrastructure officer for the recently formed Ohio Appalachian Business Council which spans all of the southeastern Ohio region.
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That entity, in fact, serves as the regional partner for Gov. John Kasichs JobsOhio program.
Adams refused any salary for the CIO position even though he is traveling back and forth to meetings in Columbus and in areas throughout southeastern Ohio.
Those extra-career involvements would prove more than enough to keep most people busy, but the couple engage in the community in many ways.
Eileen, for example, has used her journalism and theater background to narrate many programs for a variety of groups. She has participated in annual Christmas cantatas, helped at the Food Pantry of the College Drive Presbyterian Church, taught Sunday school classes, was president of the John Glenn High School Volleyball Boosters, was treasurer of the East Muskingum Orchestra Boosters, is a member and past secretary of the East Muskingum Endowment Board and served on the distribution committee of the Muskingum County Community Foundation.
Gregs community involvement spans several communities. For example, he serves on the board of directors for Southeastern Med in Cambridge and the board of trustees for the Muskingum County Library System in Zanesville. Also a Sunday school teacher, Greg sings in the church choir, plays in the bell choir and serves on the College Drive Presbyterian Session (the governing church body). He also serves on the Muskingum County Community Foundation and the board of trustees for the John and Annie Glenn Historic Site.
With partner Larry Triplett, Greg founded what became Resource Systems and ran the company for 30 years until he sold his interest last autumn.
The experience he gained in business has informed his efforts for the Ohio Appalachian Business Council.
I like to apply the entrepreneurial perspective to economic development in the governmental sphere, he said.
Although their public service has spanned the region, Greg and Eileen focus most of their attention on New Concord.
One of the things we enjoy in our community is all of the other people who are willing to step forward and volunteer, Greg said.
Were just one piece of the pie. A lot of other people are working behind the scenes. And it really does make a difference.
With respect to people who do not volunteer because they believe their efforts are fruitless in a world beset with problems, Eileen refers to a modern parable. The parable tells the story of a boy throwing starfish into the ocean after a storm washed thousands ashore and stranded them.
To the cynical adult who told the boy his efforts were negligible and would make little difference to the mass of starfish, the boy replied, tossing another starfish into the sea, It made a difference to that one.
Everybody who takes a little time to help makes a difference in someones life, Eileen said.
Parents of two daughters, Chelsea and Clare, the Adamses attribute their community-minded orientation to the influence of their parents: Norma and Bob Adams and Bill McComb and the late Helen McComb.
For their caring activities this past year and their community involvement over the last several decades, Greg and Eileen Adams truly deserve recognition as Jeffersonian Persons of the Year.