Mike Franks Named as 2021 Volunteer of the Year

Submitted by Wayne County P… on Sat, 12/05/2020 - 5:53pm

Wayne County Park District and Friends of the Wayne County Park District are pleased to announce the recipient of the 2021 Volunteer of the Year recognition. 

Our 2021 Volunteer of the Year is Mike Franks!

Mike Fr

A few words from Mike:

I was born in Wooster but grew up in Apple Creek and graduated from Waynedale HS.  After working several jobs in my early years, I went into the Navy as a helicopter mechanic. I attended University of Akron, gaining an Associate of Science degree in Electronic Technology. I became employed by Firestone Tire & Rubber and Goodyear Tire & Rubber and retired in 2011. While employed at Goodyear I attained a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Technology. 

I became interested in Facebook in 2012. Since then, I started several Facebook groups: Wayne County, Ohio...Remembered; You Know You're from Apple Creek if; People, Places, History and Events of Northeast Ohio, and A Walk at Barnes Preserve.

I also formed a committee to erect a monument to honor Charles Follis, first African-American professional football player, in United States history, who grew up in Wooster. This committee raised nearly $30,000, which will pay for the monument, a "Charles Follis Trail", and a Charles Follis Scholarship.

Today, I am enjoying what I have left of my life. Part of that enjoyment is Barnes Preserve.  While at the Barnes Preserve, I am reinventing myself as a self-trained naturalist! I enjoy contributing my gained knowledge and info on “iNaturalist” and posting wildlife pics from the Barnes Preserve.    

Thank you for this honor from a hardworking group of fellow volunteers!