Ed Leininger, the Archbold 2017 Citizen of the Year, was lauded by many as an honest, compassionate, caring man; a humble man who is about teamwork, who has mentored those around him.
So it is only fitting that he turned the celebration in his acceptance speech back on others.
“This is not about my celebration. To me, it’s about celebrating all of you,” he said, because all of those who touched his life helped make him the man he is today.
Leininger’s speech came during the Archbold Area Chamber of Commerce annual meeting and Lion’s Club Citizen of the Year banquet, Thursday, Nov. 9.
He said he was blessed to be raised in a Christian family, growing up knowing his parents trusted God and encouraging their sons to read about Him and accepting Him as our Lord and Savior.
“Then I married June, and it was obvious her parents had the same passion,” he said.
“You see, God is real to me,” and it is because of God that the community could gather, “and to him will be the glory.”
With his mother in the audience, he said, “being raised on a farm with four brothers was an awesome experience.
“I’m really not sure how Mom got through it all.
“Mom, it took until you were 89 years old to show you that maybe I wasn’t that bad after all.
“Thank you, mother, for your prayers, for your life of teaching, encouragement, and for your love.
“I was also blessed to marry into a family that also had strong Christian values. My father-in-law, Paul Grieser, was not just my father-inlaw, but my fantastic friend. He could not have been kinder to me.
“Thank you, Evelyn (his mother-in-law), which sounds weird, because I’ve called you Mom for 43 years. Thank you for the love you have shared.
“To my family, you make me proud. You all bring me the greatest joy in life.”
However, he cautioned his 11 grandchildren, “Now remember… make good decisions.”
To his wife June, “the love of my life, my best friend, I truly look forward to every moment we have together.”
He said she has always supported and encouraged him.
“Whenever I’m asked to serve, she always responds, ‘go ahead.’”
Leininger also recognized his employer, the Farmers & Merchants State Bank, where he is executive vice president and chief executive officer.
“I’ve had the joy of working with one of the best employers in Northwest Ohio,” he said.
“This is not about one person. It’s about a whole community of families, businesses, churches, and schools that go beyond their daily chores to make this life a little better.”