Longtime member and past president, Joe Constant, was named the Outstanding Jaycee of the Year during the group’s sixth annual awards ceremony. Supporters said Mr. Constant truly lives up to the meaning of his surname – loyal and steadfast.
The presentation was made Feb. 19 at The Tanglewood Club in Bainbridge.
Friend and award presenter, Dan Beavers, noted that Mr. Constant, immediate past president of the men’s service organization, tackled just about every job and chairmanship the Jaycees had to offer during his 11 years as a member. They included the smallest task to being Blossom Time chairman, many times over, to the big job as the festival’s point man as operations chairman to president of the Jaycee organization.
Mr. Beavers said he was able to witness firsthand Mr. Constant’s dedication and determination to making Blossom Time the “greatest festival known to man.”
“He would spend countless hours in the months leading up to the event organizing, planning and assisting other chairmen with their assignments and would take off work the whole week of Blossom Time so he could dedicate all his time,” Mr. Beavers said.
“He was always willing to step up and save my hide to deal with an angry East Orange resident who may have had a bologna sandwich thrown in their yard by a carnie,” Mr. Beavers recalled.
In addition to being operations chairman, Mr. Constant spent five years as Blossom Time Parade chairman, Mr. Beavers said. “So while Joe was attempting to direct the operations at the park he would constantly be answering phone calls and emails regarding the parade.”
Mr. Constant was the master at diplomacy when faced with questions like, “Why am I in the back of the parade? Why can’t I do tricks on my motorcycle all the way down East Washington? Why is the parade so short? Why is the parade so long? Why aren’t there more floats?” Mr. Beavers recalled.
“This man has more patience than anyone I know, and he did this all with a smile and without complaint, ever.”
Mr. Constant also has volunteered his time to other causes including the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival and Santa’s Hideaway Hollow, an all year Christmas village and festival for terminally ill children.
Then there was the much needed storage building for the Jaycee’s annual Christmas display in the Village of Chagrin Falls.
“Not only was he able to work with the village and gain approval for our new storage building behind the Cleveland Street Armory, Joe spent endless hours working on its construction,” Mr. Beavers concluded.
Mr. Constant thanked “my Jaycee brothers” for the recognition and their friendship. “It is an awesome thing to be able to give back, and hope I can continue to do so for the next many years,” he said.
Then he hinted he would be slowing down from his Blossom Time duties this year. Then turning to his wife Julie, he smiled and said, “except for the parade.”
This award is presented to a new Jaycee who has had the biggest impact on the organization, and this year it went to Andrew Rockey who has only turned down one assignment since becoming a member. It happened to fall on his wedding day.
As leader of the Jaycee cooking crew, he made up for having to say “no,” by inventing a piece of much-needed equipment, a mobile dish washing system, that allows pots and pans to be washed onsite. Prior to that, the dirty pots and pans were loaded into cars for transport to crew members’ homes.
“I don’t do dishes,” Mr. Rockey chuckled recalling the experience “dealing with grease and no hot water.”
Except for that, being a Jaycee has “been a wonderful experience,” he concluded.
Jaycees presented donations to more than two-dozen nonprofit groups in the valley from proceeds of Blossom Time and other events sponsored during the year. Awards were made to:
American Legion Post 383, Juvenile Arthritis Foundation, Auburn-Bainbridge Safety Town, Chagrin Falls Safety Town, Chagrin Documentary Film Festival, Chagrin Falls Alumni Association, Chagrin Falls Historical Society, Chagrin Falls Scholarships, Meals on Wheels, Chagrin Falls Park Community Center, Chagrin Falls Shop With a Cop, Chagrin Falls Astronomical Society, Chagrin Valley Little Theatre, Chagrin Valley Rec. Center, Give Chagrin Valley, Different Needz, Geauga County Job and Family Service, Ho Mita Koda Camp for children with diabetes, Hope for Kids Geauga, Kenston Scholarship Foundation, Metzenbaum Center, Nick Nemeth Wiffleball Tournament, REACT emergency services assistance, Santa’s Hide-a-Way Hollow, Three-Deuce-Five Marine Foundation, Tiger Prep, Seidman Cancer Center, Chagrin Falls VFW, WomenSafe, Kenston Athletic Boosters, Fairmount Center for the Arts and Chagrin Valley Fire Department.