Community Champions: Doris Gorgas & The Bay Village Bicycle Cooperative

Doris & Tom Gorgas with Judy Minium

Doris & Tom Gorgas with Judy Minium

Doris Gorgas has been named 2014 Bay Village citizen of the year, and the Village Bicycle Cooperative has been named 2014 project of the year by the Bay Village Community Council.

All were honored during a reception held at Bay Lodge Sunday, Feb. 23.

Master of Ceremonies Eric Eakin welcomed the honorees with a long list of their community contributions.

Doris,  a retired University Hospitals operating room nurse (she still helps teach CPR there), was honored for her 40 years of service to a wide variety of Bay Village organizations, from Girl Scouts to the band boosters to the historical society to the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).

Community Champion! Eric Eakin crowns the Bay Village Bicycle Cooperative head Jennifer Smillie as Bay Village Project of the Year.

Community Champion! Eric Eakin crowns the Bay Village Bicycle Cooperative head Jennifer Smillie as Bay Village Project of the Year.

“Her community involvement has been evident for the past 40 years,” a nominator wrote. “Doris distributes thank-you notes to veterans during the Memorial Day parade. She works to erect American flags on homes throughout town. She helped raise money for the cemetery fence. As a member of the garden club, she volunteers for fall and spring community cleanups. Doris is an example for all of us to follow; she is a citizen of every year.”

“I am pleased and honored to have been selected,” Gorgas said. “I really enjoyed doing all these activities because I got to meet more of the great people of Bay Village. I hope I helped a bit. It’s a great city and I hope to continue to serve for a long while.”

Doris was supported by a generous turnout of friends at the reception, representing the Bay Village Garden Club, the DAR, Bay Presbyterian Church and family members, including her husband Tom. They have two adult children, Carol Gorgas Brown and Diane Gorgas Lahm.

Bay Village Bicycle Cooperative volunteers Patrick McGannon, Peggy Ludwig, Bob Piccirelli, Jennifer Smillie and  Carl Gonzalez.

Bay Village Bicycle Cooperative volunteers Patrick McGannon, Peggy Ludwig, Bob Piccirelli, Jennifer Smillie and Carl Gonzalez.

The Village Bicycle Cooperative, headed by Jennifer Smillie, was named 2014 project of the year for collaborating with local organizations and businesses to encourage people to use their bicycles more often.

Volunteers at the co-operative repair donate bicycles and sell them back to the community or donate them to local charities. Last year the coop was able to repurpose 170 bicycles. Some 65 were repaired and sold at a modest profit to help fund the project. Another 64 were donated to various organizations. Of the 64 donated, 31 went to needy families at Christmas through the Salvation Army.

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“By making Bay Village a bicycle-friendly community, the co-op enhances the image of the community which helps attract young, active people to live here and encourages senior citizens to stay here,” a nominator wrote.

“We are honored to be selected,” Smillie said. “This would never have happened without all the awesome people who helped like Bob Piccirilli, Patrick McGannon, Carl Gonzalez and Peggy Ludwig. It really is a cooperative. A lot of other organizations have helped us like the Bay Skate and Bike Park and the Green Team. I can’t thank them all enough.”

The Doris Gorgas File

Doris’s list of community credentials represents an incredible lifetime of commitment to the community she loves. She served as a girl scout leader and on the Women’s Board at LENSC in the ‘70’s, was a Bay Band Booster, served as Daughters of the American Revolution president from 1980-1986, has volunteered at the Bay Village Memorial Day parade since 1985 (where she distributes cards of thanks to veterans during parade), headed the DAR financial contribution to new Lakeside Cemetery fence,  and organized the memorial marker and tree planting in Cahoon Memorial Park walking track honoring deceased member Helena Walsh (the first woman councilperson of Bay Village).  Doris has been a Bay Village Historical Society member since 1985 and helps guide second grade tours every year.

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She recently spearheaded a drive to collect supplies for veterans in need and personally delivers household items, blankets and even a Christmas dinner to help the veterans make a smooth transition back into society.

Doris now heads the DAR effort, along with the American Legion and Bay Kiwanis, to purchase and install American flags on the home of any Bay Village resident unable to purchase or install one. She also volunteers at the Western Reserve Historical Society library and assists many Bay Villagers with genealogical research. She has been a member of Bay Presbyterian Church for 40 years. As a member of the Bay Village Garden Club she volunteers at fall and spring community clean-ups,  the“Greening of Bay” fundraiser and is responsible for  the Columbia Road planter/Bay Village sign.

She and  husband Tom are the “Mayor and First Lady of Carlton Drive,” where they coordinate the annual Carlton Drive block party, Christmas party, place luminaries each Christmas and American flags on tree lawns each summer holiday. They even leave American flags for new homeowners.  Doris and Tom have lived in Bay Village for 42 years.

Congratulations and thank you to this year’s winner’s of the Bay Village Citizen of the Year award and Project of the Year award!

Emcee of the Year award goes to Eric Eakin. He would have made a terrific game show host!

 

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