As previously announced, the Red Cross is to stage its 2014 Citizen of the Year Celebration with a public luncheon 11:30-1 p.m. Sept. 5 at North Central Ohio Educational Service Center. Receiving the honor is Jill Gosche, a lifetime resident of Seneca County and online editor for The Advertiser-Tribune.
People who know Gosche are aware of her busy schedule. In addition to keeping up on events in the newspaper's coverage area, she is completing a master's degree at Tiffin University and is involved in numerous other organizations. They include 4-H (club adviser, Advisory Council member), United Way, Junior Achievement, Relay For Life and its Birthday Bash, Tiffin Police and Fire All Patriots Memorial Committee and Seneca Mentoring Youth Links.
Gosche said her parents, Ron and Donna Gosche, are role models who did community service themselves. They believed in supporting the community and instilled values of generosity and gratitude in their children, she said.
"My parents were active in our church. So whenever they needed help, we helped out with different events. That was probably the first service that I got involved in," Gosche said.
After that, she found plenty of opportunities for volunteering on her own. In third grade, Gosche joined 4-H and remained in the organization for 10 years, doing a variety of fair projects. As an adult, she is a member of the 4-H Advisory Council and serves as adviser for Country Clovers 4-H Club. Her July birthday usually falls during fair time.
"I love the fair. My whole summer sort of leads up to the fair, in terms of what I do and get ready for. ... Next year, it will start on my birthday," she said.
Gosche has served as a judge for Power of the Pen competitions and projects at the Seneca and Sandusky county fairs and Ohio State Fair. She also has judged royalty contests in Crawford, Erie and Logan counties. Her photographs have received awards from competitions at Tiffin Art Guild and the Seneca County Fair.
For the newspaper, Gosche has shot photo of car crashes, fires, school activities and special events. In recent years, she has filled in to get photos of many high school athletes and teams, in addition to video for the A-T website.
A graduate of Hopewell-Loudon High School and Ashland University, Gosche is a member of Sigma Tau Delta and an honorary member of the National Technical Honor Society. She also is a 2009 graduate of Leadership Seneca County and the Tiffin Police Department's Citizens Academy. For the past five years, Gosche has played in the celebrity basketball game with the Seneca County Opportunity Center's Arrows.
"I love sports in general," she wrote on her questionnaire.
In choosing a career, Gosche said she "went through a wide gamut" of ideas. Her options included education, broadcasting and law. She had pretty much settled on teaching language arts, including journalism and speech, at the high-school level. Then, in 2002, she took an internship at The A-T.
"I only looked at it as a summer job, but I fell in love with the field. That was the summer after my freshman year," Gosche said. "I ended up changing my major to journalism and then, eventually, added speech communication, as well."
After two more summers at The A-T, Gosche graduated from Ashland in 2005 and moved into a full-time position at the newspaper, starting as the education reporter. She has been invited to speak about her career to various groups and school classes.
Junior Achievement is another organization that gives Gosche a chance to teach. It provides training for instructors who go into the schools.
"This year, I did 'JA in a Day' at Noble, and that was amazing. That was the first I had done any classes that old for JA. ... Usually, I just do the younger kids, but they needed a volunteer at Noble, so I took it," Gosche said.
Education for herself is continuing at the graduate level. Gosche is combining her interests in photography and writing to create a graduate capstone project. It is a manuscript for a book about the All Patriots Memorial that she helped to complete in Tiffin.
"I've always wanted to publish a book, and when we started working on All Patriots, it seemed like that was a natural fit for me to write the book," Gosche said. "It will take a look at the historical significance of the memorial here in Tiffin, how Tiffin grieved for the terrorist attacks. ... and include information about the two police officers who were killed in the line of duty, ... more of a local history book about Tiffin's reaction to 9-11."
In her free time, Gosche spends time with family and friends, attends numerous sports events and stays in shape by walking at the park and working out at Bodyworks for mental as well as physical health. Whenever a news assignment requires travel, Gosche said she is willing to hit the road. She has been to several states. During her college years, she visited Georgia and Connecticut to work with Habitat for Humanity.
Her long-term goal, she said, would be to teach journalism at the college level if the opportunity presented itself.
"I love working with youth and seeing them grow and develop and learn, so I can see myself doing that," Gosche said. "I talk to students every so often and I really enjoy that. Journalism, I think is an all-in field. ... I can tell them how it is in a first-person perspective."
The Citizen of the Year award came as a surprise to Gosche, she said, because being active in the community is just a normal lifestyle for her. One of her life's philosophies is to leave the world a better place, she said. She learned about the honor about a month after the death of her grandmother, who had been a Red Cross volunteer for 16 years.
The Gosche family holds great respect for Red Cross, she added.
"When it occurred to me that she'd been a Red Cross volunteer, it became even more meaningful because this organization meant so much to her, and she meant so much to them. That made it all the more special," Gosche said.
When her graduate degree is finished, she said she is considering some kind of role with the Red Cross. For now, she sees the awards luncheon as a way to be part of a major fundraiser for a "really great organization."
Gosche was quick to note many other deserving volunteers in the area.
"I'm very overwhelmed by this. There are many people in the community who do more than I do. I think this award could be given to hundreds of people who make a difference. I'm very honored, but ... I don't volunteer for recognition. I just want to make the community better," Gosche said. "Don't come to honor me. Come to support the Red Cross."
Tickets for the Citizen of the Year lunch are $20. Proceeds are to benefit the American Red Cross of Seneca County and the services it provides. To make reservations, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (419) 391-4570.