Always understanding the importance of cooperation and collaboration, while moving forward on a regional level, was just one of the reasons why Bethel Township’s Trustee, Jerome L. Hirt, Sr., was chosen to be the recipient of the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission’s (MVRPC’s) Regional Steward Award. Hirt received the award on Wednesday, April 22, 2015, at MVRPC’s Annual Spring Dinner that was held at the Dayton Marriott Hotel.
MVRPC’s Chairperson and Huber Heights Councilmember, Jan Vargo, along with MVRPC’s Executive Director, Brian O. Martin, presided over the event, which was attended by 270 guests from across the Region.
The coveted Regional Steward Award recognizes:
- Someone with an innovative spirit to solving regional challenges;
- Someone who works across political boundaries;
- Someone who builds broad support toward a shared regional vision; and
- Someone who is a regional steward promoting economic, social and environmental progress in the Miami Valley.
Chairperson Vargo explained, “Jerry is known for his ability to assess an issue and think it through from all sides. This award recognizes an outstanding public servant who has shown they can make tough decisions while keeping in mind the good of the entire Region.”
Hirt was first elected in November of 1981, took office on January 1, 1982, and is currently serving his 34th year as a Bethel Township Trustee, in Miami County. He represents the second of four generations that have lived in Bethel Township. He has worked to bring sewer and water services to the township, increased fire protection, correct drainage issues and increase upgrading of roadways. He is known as a staple in all levels of government in Miami County. In addition to his community involvement, he is a member of the Ohio Township Association, former Chairman of the Miami County Council, and member of the former Miami County Bike Task Force.
He has been an enthusiastic participant in MVRPC’s Areawide Facility Planning Subcommittee since its creation in 2005. He has consistently advocated that the Region use the water quality planning process as a tool to foster better coordination and cooperation between jurisdictions.
He served on MVRPC’s Going Places subcommittee from its inception and was a very strong advocate for this initiative. He provided insight and suggestions during the process and was an active participant in the Steering Committee meetings.
He has served proudly on the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission’s Board of Directors since 1990. He served on MVRPC’s Executive Director Search Committee in 2002. And, he has served on MVRPC’s Executive Committee since 2007 (excluding 2009).
Brian O. Martin, MVRPC’s Executive Director, noted that “Jerry is very logical, insightful and reasonable. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to all planning issues, especially those concerning water and sewer. It’s his critical thinking that makes him so valuable on a regional level.”
Established in 1964, the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission promotes collaboration among communities, stakeholders, and residents to advance regional priorities. MVRPC is a forum and resource where the Board of Directors identifies priorities, develops public policy and collaborative strategies to improve quality of life throughout the Miami Valley Region. MVRPC performs various regional planning activities, including air quality, water quality, transportation, land use, research and GIS. As the designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), MVRPC is responsible for transportation planning in Greene, Miami and Montgomery Counties and parts of northern Warren County. MVRPC's areawide water quality planning designation encompasses five (5) counties: Darke, Preble plus the three MPO counties. The Annual Spring Dinner is a way to express continued thanks to the elected officials who devote countless hours to the betterment and unity of the Miami Valley Region.
The event was sponsored by Burgess & Niple, Cox Media Group, DPL Energy, Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority, Hafenbrack Marketing, CH2MHill, The Dayton Dragons, DLZ, HDR, Inc., IBI Group, LJB, Inc., The University of Dayton, Dayton Marriott Hotel, Heidelberg Distributing Company, Key-Ads, ProForma Vision Marketing, and Progressive Printers, Inc.
Photo – (L to R, Jan Vargo – MVRPC’s Chairwoman; Regional Steward Award Winner, Jerome L. Hirt, Sr. – Bethel Township Trustee; Brian O. Martin, AICP – MVRPC’s Executive Director)