The Daily Record, Wooster, Ohio
Greg Long has said if it were not for his father-in-law, the late Ralph Jones, he would probably still be operating a tow motor at Gerstenslager's.
But that fate was not to be. He and his wife, Kathy Long, were recognized as friends of philanthropy by the Wayne County Community Foundation on Thursday at the Shisler Center, joining the ranks of the Gault, Smucker and Noble families.
The Friend of Philanthropy award is not just about giving money, but also of giving oneself, Executive Director Sara Patton said. Greg and Kathy Long are stellar examples, she said.
The Longs were introduced by friends David and Margo Broehl. The introduction was delivered in the style of a comedy duo and focused on the mystery of how they operate as a cohesive unit, despite seemingly having nothing in common. Greg is a Republican. Kathy is a Democrat. Greg is outgoing. Kathy works behind the scenes. As for how the couple have been married for more than 40 years, the only thing the Broehls could figure out is they both love dogs.
Both of them also love Wooster.
Greg Long is generally the one front and center, but Patton said Kathy Long is very active in her own right, particularly in the management of the Ralph and Grace Jones Foundation, her work with OneEighty and her involvement with the foundation's Women's Fund advisory committee.
When Margo Broehl asked from where all this community interest came, her husband provided the answer: Family.
While much of the attention was on the Longs, Patton and the Broehls touched on who built the foundation for what they do today: Ralph and Grace Jones.
Ralph Jones was looking for a city in need of glass services. He and his wife eventually settled in Wooster, establishing the Wooster Glass Co. Ralph and Grace Jones appreciated the support from Wooster and Wayne County, and they felt it was his responsibility to give back. Kathy Long learned this lesson growing up.
Greg Long has been involved with Wooster Youth Baseball, the Boy Scouts, The College of Wooster, the Wayne County Chapter of the American Red Cross, The Village Network, the Wayne County Humane Society and other nonprofit organizations.
The Longs demonstrate a "homegrown philanthropy" that leads to "long-term approaches designed to develop community resilience, social cohesion and leadership skills in others," David Broehl said.
"We can't say enough about the good Greg and Kathy have done for our community," Margo Broehl said.
"Kathy and I are honored and humbled to accept this award not only for ourselves, but for Kathy's parents, Ralph and Grace Jones," Greg Long said. "Without them leading the way and teaching by example, we would not be standing here now. We both feel there are many others in our communities who are deserving of recognition.
"Nobody does it all by themselves, and we have been fortunate to have many mentors showing us the way."
The Joneses taught the couple not to complain. If they wanted to make a difference, then they should get involved, not complain, they were told.
"I can hear Ralph saying, 'If you see someone who is down on their luck, don't walk over them. Stop and lend a helping hand up,'" Greg Long said. "Helping the causes you care about should not be a spectator sport."
Before Greg Long asked Kathy Long to join him on stage to receive the award, he shared one last quote from his father-in-law, who said, "You can't take it with you. In all my years, I have never seen a Brinks truck follow the hearse to the cemetery."
Following the presentation and Judy Delaney's talk about how she rose from a low-income home to become president of Goodwill Industries of Wayne & Holmes Counties, the consensus about the Longs being recognized was summed up in two words: Well-deserved.
"If you had listed all the things Kathy does that nobody knows about, we would have been here four more hours," Bev Theil said.
"This is well-deserved," said Pat Neyhart, Kathy Long's business partner at Wooster Glass.
"Kathy and her family have done a lot for the Salvation Army, particularly the Family Life Center," said Capt. Madelaine Dwier. "She'll continually come over and say, 'If you need anything, let me know.'"
"They are so involved in absolutely everything," Mayor Bob Breneman said. "I am so glad they are moving our community forward."
"I'm so happy for the community that they are a part of it," said Jackie Middleton of the College of Wooster.
"This is well-deserved," David Noble said. "Greg's one of those people who truly wants the best for his community."
Reporter Bobby Warren can be reached at 330-287-1639 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He is @BobbyWarrenTDR on Twitter.
« Back to General News Releases
Wayne County Community Foundation
517 North Market Street
Wooster, Ohio 44691