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Letter: The Bill Garrett I knew

A letter from Icon founder Fred Steiner.

On June 6 a most memorable village personality left us. Bill Garrett, 1968 Bluffton High School graduate and long-time resident of the Riley Street neighborhood, died at Mennonite Memorial Home where he had lived for several years. A memorial service will be set at a later date, and I only learned of his death yesterday.

Bill was a part of the rich fabric of characters who stand out when the roll call of our most interesting residents are celebrated. Although not a village mover or shaker, he was a surprising person of letters, and his interest in world history was outstanding.

For those of us who knew him, much of this is common knowledge. For those who didn’t know him, here’s a glimpse of what you missed.



Letter: Around the world with your five senses

By Wendy Chappell-Dick
Manager of Ten Thousand Villages Bluffton

In the last weeks before school let out, Ten Thousand Villages hosted four classes of 2nd graders who were able to “travel around the world” using sight, smell, sound, taste and touch.

“We may seem like a store, but we are so much more,” I told the children. Ten Thousand Villages is actually a non-profit, with a mission to help some of the poorest people in the world earn a living. By providing a market for international handmade crafts and gifts, Ten Thousand Villages empowers people to help themselves. 

Volunteers who work at Ten Thousand Villages set up the store in order of continents. The children could see colorful crafts from Asia, India, Central and South America, Africa and the Middle East. 



Letter: Bluffton National Night Out made possible by donors, volunteers

Dear Business and Community Partners, 

The Bluffton and Pandora Police Departments are in the planning stages for holding our annual National Night Out celebration. This year marks a milestone as this will be our 10th annual event! We are so thankful for the assistance from the communities of Bluffton and Pandora over the years, and we hope that you will continue to assist with this event. If you haven't helped in the past, we will welcome your assistance this year!


Letter: Dubenion classmates and fans successfully pitch memorial drive

From the committee to commemorate Elbert Dubenion.

An informal group of Bluffton University alumni is working on a project to recognize Elbert Dubenion, 1959 Bluffton College graduate, who played for nine seasons with the Buffalo Bills professional football team. He is the only Bluffton athlete to play professional football.


Letter: Bluffton students to attend 2024 Buckeye Boys State and Buckeye Girls State

To the Bluffton community, I would like to present the following Bluffton High School students who have decided to continue their education by attending the Ohio American and Auxiliary Legion Buckeye Boys State and Buckeye Girls State. (Pictured above L-R)

Adie Hanefeld
Avery Smith
Emma Mackay Tuttle

These three young ladies will be attending Bowling Green University on June 9-June 15, 2024. (Pictured above L-R)

Asa Clingerman
Luke Jebsen

These two young men will be attending Miami University in Oxford Ohio on June 9-16.

The Bluffton American Legion and the Bluffton Lions Club would like to congratulate these five students on taking the step of learning how government is run. They will be joining hundreds of other students from all over Ohio.

Dennis Morrison
Bluffton, Ohio


Letter: A Bluffton Lions mission to the British Virgin Islands

By Bluffton Lion Barbara Plaugher
VOSH-Ohio Mission Coordinator

Tortola, British Virgin Islands, April 22-26, 2024__While providing an optometric mission into St. Maarten in 2023, a representative from Tortola asked if VOSH Ohio would also provide eye care for their students and some adults. We agreed and within a month from our St. Maarten clinic, VOSH Ohio received a formal invitation from Tortola BVI, signed by Lion Daphodil, stating their desire for a clinic to be held in the spring of 2024.

After Brenda, the VOSH Ohio president, asked me if I would like to coordinate this mission, due to her involvement with Costa Rica in February 2024, I quickly said “YES.”. Coordinating missions has been my passion since I first became involved in 1994.  This mission would be the 30th year of my participation. John Conrad, OD agreed to become the lead optometrist.

Early in the process of developing a mission I always ask our host if we can get through customs.  I worked with Lions Linda and Carlene. There have been teams unable to get through customs that have either turned around and gone home or that decided to spend their time on vacation in the country.