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If you’re a Tiger, you can do anything.
The Washington High School Alumni Association honored four men who did great things because they believed in themselves. This week, those Distinguished Citizens and their families returned to Washington High School to prepare a new generation of students to do great things.
If Charles Brown knows anything, it’s football.
From the fields in Massillon and Syracuse to the NFL and CFL, Brown made his mark on the sport he loves the most. But he also learned to take leave the world a better place than the way he found it.
Since retiring from his favorite sport, Brown has made it his mission to better the world for the next generation, and he has done that through Boys and Girls Clubs and other youth programs in the Chicago area.
In his hometown of Massillon, Brown also is making a difference. The co-founder of One Tiger, Inc., he is working to ensure that all students are ready to read.
Brown told the students this week that they, too, could make an impact on the world with their talents and passion. He pointed to the wisdom of legendary football coach Bear Bryant.
“He said, ‘Set a goal, adopt a plan and that will help you achieve your goal,’ ” Brown said. “… (And) don’t allow anyone to lower your standards.”
Innovation and creativity combined in magnificent ways for Leo Grosswiller, a man who followed his greatest passion and never worked a day in his life.
From the time he was a student at Washington High School, Grosswiller knew he wanted to be an engineer. He wanted to design new things and help to move business forward.
Throughout his career with Diebold, that’s exactly what he did.
Grosswiller designed vaults, vault doors and after-hours depositories for banks around the country. He also invented drive-up windows, pneumatic tube systems and ATMs for banks.
His creative drive didn’t stop there, however. Grosswiller’s ingenuity is on display in Washington, D.C., helping to protect the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights. He also developed the display case for the Hope Diamond.
“I figured if I am going to do it, I want to be on the cutting edge,” Grosswiller said. “What a ride it was. We developed everything.”
James Johnson wore many hats. Throughout his professional career, he achieved so much. But his greatest accomplishment may have been all of the lessons he taught as a father.
Cindy (Johnson) Meyerson told Washington High School students this week that her dad is one of her greatest inspirations.
And she remembers him best through those amazing stories her father always told. The stories about the people he met and the places he discovered on his professional travels and adventures around the world, representing his country and its industry.
On Friday, she made sure to share some of that advice:
• “Turn out the lights when you leave the room.”
• “Work hard in your first year in college; It’s your most important year.”
• “Never pull into a McDonald’s if you see a bus out front.”
• “Take a vacation. If you think you will save the money by not going, you’ll find later that you don’t have the money anyway.”
Throughout his life, Dave McAfee has called plenty of places home. But only one has always had his heart.
Ask him where he’s from, and he’ll say proudly that he’s from Massillon. It’s where he learned the meaning of family, the strength it takes to reach for your biggest dreams and how proud he is to be a Massillon Tiger.
When he, his mother and brother moved to Massillon, they did so with little more than big dreams and a whole lot of hope.
“It’s a good thing Massillon was right here, too,” McAfee said, “because we pulled into the town on fumes.”
McAfee said that his success as drummer in the country music field is due to his willingness to never give up on his dreams — and a whole lot of luck.
“Since 1986,” McAfee said, “I have not done anything else for a living. If that doesn’t tell you how lucky I am, I don’t know what does.”