March 2008 Issue
Time for Change
When a devastating fire tore through downtown Wauseon last year, Stas Legenza wanted to help with rebuilding efforts –– especially since his favorite eatery, Doc Holliday’s western-themed steakhouse, was one of six businesses destroyed by the flames. So he dragged a card table to the end of his driveway, put up a sign and asked passersby to donate to the cause. Stas also canvassed his Dover Drive neighborhood and called upon his classmates to add to the burgeoning coffers. In little over a week, he raised $288.12 for the campaign, which he dubbed Dimes for Downtown.
If only all 6-year-olds were this civic-minded.
“He’s amazing,” says Wauseon mayor Jerry Dehnbostel. “The money came as a complete surprise to me. It says a lot for Stas’ upbringing –– the fact that he would have the community spirit to do this all on his own and really want to make a difference.”
Stas’ mom, Meg Legenza, is also proud of her son’s initiative, which helped spearhead the reconstruction that’s still ongoing.
“He was pretty determined,” she says with a smile. “Stas came up with the idea, and nothing was going to stand in his way. We watched the donations keep growing and growing.”
For his efforts, Stas received a plaque from Mayor Dehnbostel and a round of applause from city council. A red maple tree was planted in his honor. But the Leggett Street Primary School first-grader takes the attention in stride.
“ I just wanted them to have enough money to make it,” he explains. “And collecting was a lot of fun.” — Steve Herrick