October 7, 2014
Those of you who took advantage of the invitation to tour National Machinery must have come away feeling proud to live in Tiffin, like I did.
National - known around the world for quality products, the latest in technology, revered by its customers - having its headquarters in our small town of Tiffin is simply remarkable. Celebrating 140 years of excellence, innovations, customer satisfaction, a storied past and a legacy passed on by previous generations as an obligation is seldom found. The employees' enduring commitment is a passionate and unfaltering dedication, not only to fulfill the needs, but to surpass the expectations of every customer.
It was National that brought me to Tiffin in 1961, my first job after serving in the Army, so my visit was even more eye-opening. The modern plant, the attitude of the employees, the latest equipment had no equal to my time. It did not take long to realize, after talking to some of the workers - all of whom arrived as employees only to learn quickly they had become members of a family - that this is a different company. The future of National looks bright, and I trust that the community leaders and the public at large will be proud and supportive. Without National, the picture of Tiffin and Seneca County would look totally different.
To me, the most rewarding part of this story is Andrew Kalnow and his family, who have made a solid commitment to National and Tiffin. Kalnow made all of this possible. He is not an outsider, one who lives somewhere else and takes his money out of town. Quite the contrary, he is all Tiffinite. He lives in the home of his parents, former owners, and is involved wholeheartedly in the community.
Case in point, he purchased the East Junior High building to prevent another historical building demolished by the wrecking ball, like our icon of the county, our beautiful courthouse. Kalnow has offered the East Junior High to the city and county to be converted into the much-discussed justice center. The building is beautiful, historical and structurally sound, and can be converted by an architectural firm into a beautiful justice center.
Instead of taking advantage of the generous offer to have the justice center in the city, there are once again intellectual midgets in the closet who would rather build a quonset hut out of 2x4s and half-inch drywall with more of our tax dollars. Our distinguished judges did not raise a finger when I sent them a letter begging them to stop the destruction of our courthouse.
My appeal to the "young lions" running the city now, the county commissioners and our judges is to get behind Mr. Kalnow and let's have a justice center we all can be proud of. Above all, I challenge this newspaper to expose all who oppose any effort to benefit the community for their own glory.
Let's be clear, if Kalnow sees there is no support for his generous offer, it could well be his last one. After all, why should he go all out to make Tiffin a place to visit if the leaders in the community do not work with him? People from all over the globe came for the 140th anniversary and they will continue to do so in the future, not to visit Tiffin, but to visit National Machinery. Why not make them want to come to Tiffin as well, because of the attraction in our town. Think about it!
Concerned about the future of Tiffin,