Patty Reisner hears from her son Chris every year on May 10. The date has become like Christmas or a birthday.
Whether it’s a call or text or if she’s celebrating Mother’s Day, a message comes like clockwork from Chris, 30, thanking his parents for saving Buckeye sports.
A 9.8-mill emergency levy failed on May 3, 2005, and the school board decided to cut extracurricular activities a week later. With two sons in high school, the Reisners weren’t going to have any of it.
They spearheaded the Consolidated Boosters to self-fund it all, and the board agreed three days later.
Now 13 years removed from the situation, Glen and Patty Reisner will be given the Al Thomas Award at the Medina County Sports Hall of Fame Banquet on June 14 at The Galaxy Restaurant in Wadsworth.
An award given annually to someone who has contributed to high school sports behind the scenes, the Reisners define the honor.
“At a time when the waters were so rocky, they were the settling force,” former Buckeye football coach and current Valley Forge athletic director Chris Medaglia said. “They spearheaded probably the next half-decade to keep the school going forward.
“They’re wonderful people. I can’t thank them enough. They were my guardian angels. They saved our season in 2005 and 2006 — not just athletics, but prom and everything else. They saved more than just athletics. They saved the entire school’s identity.”
The Reisners, who graduated from Buckeye in 1972, were charter members of the non-profit Consolidated Boosters, a group that raised nearly $1 million from 2005-08 so Buckeye still could offer high school sports.
“They were invaluable to the community and the school,” said Ken Woodruff, who came out of retirement to be athletic director at the time. “They took charge and organized the whole thing. Without them, who knows what would have happened? There were countless people involved, but they were out there leading the parade. There’s no doubt.”
The Reisners had been involved in the Buckeye community for more than 30 years, so they weren’t going to let things go down without a fight.
“The programs were really at a point where they were on a short bridge between despair and hope 13 years ago,” Buckeye band director Greg King said. “They always had a deep faith to go to when things were challenging and shared it with others, including myself.
“I have a deep respect for Glen and Patty, as I know personally how hard the workload has been to keep all these activities going. They are honestly loyal to Buckeye. They have stuck beside the school district through it all.”
The Reisners are still part of the community as residents of York Township. Patty, 63, who taught third or fourth grade for 37 years at Buckeye, can still be seen at athletic events. So, too, can Glen, 64, who is the facilities maintenance supervisor after holding the athletic director position from 2008-17.
Without a horse in the race, many parents leave the school system and concentrate their attentions elsewhere.
The Reisners haven’t.
“We have a passion for the kids,” Glen Reisner said. “Patty has known them since elementary. I’ve known them forever. It’s just something you do. You’re here to serve. We did it first for our own kids, but I coached those kids since they were little. I coached them in basketball. I coached them in baseball. I coached them in soccer.
“They’re a part of you. They were a part of Patty when she was teaching. You took ownership in those kids. I’ve adopted these kids. They’re still a part of me. I take every chance I get to walk around the high school and say hi to them.”
As Jacky Maxworthy put it, the family bond became stronger after a disjointed community came together for a common cause.
Maxworthy’s son Nick was on the football and wrestling teams, and the family was facing a senior season without sports.
Everything changed when the community met on the football field following the cancelation of extracurricular activities and the Reisners took the lead.
“That was our life,” she said. “That’s what (my husband) Kevin and I did. Any job I did, we worked around the kids’ sports. It would have crushed Nick had he not been able to play his senior year. It affected the whole community. A lot of us were behind the sports and the band. Buckeye is one big family. We all look out for each other.”
They all want to share the praise as well.
While the Reisners will graciously accept the Al Thomas Award, they’ll do so with the entire community in mind.
The Consolidated Boosters may have been led by two people, but it took a village to stay the course in arguably the roughest spot in school history.
“There are a whole lot of Patty Reisners/Glen Reisners that were right beside us that whole time we were fighting to keep sports alive,” Patty Reisner said. “They always came up from the bottom. There was an endless supply of people in the Buckeye community that were just like Glen and I.”
Well, maybe not exactly like Glen and Patty Reisner, who will forever be looked upon as the saviors of a generation of sports.
“They’re legends,” said Chad Gibson, who helped organize the fundraisers at Coppertop at Cherokee Hills as the golf director. “Everyone looks up to them for what they’ve done for not only their kids but the whole school itself.”