On Tuesday, February 21, at 11:00 A. M., the chambers of the Lucas County Commissioners' Hearing Room at 1 Government Center, held its regular meeting that turned out to not be so regular. You see many filled the room, wall to wall, to witness the Induction of honorees posthumously, Mr. George Davis, Jr. and Former Mayor John M. (Jack) Ford.
As the corridors of the lobby, entrances, and elevators filled, it was evident that the goers and attendees had gathered for a very special reason where very special people would be at the top of the agenda. Family members, friends, co-horts, co-workers, and well wishers, seemingly witnessed by agenda end, the elevation of two giants who left this earth too soon.
Commissioners Tina Skeldon Wozniak, Carol Contrada, and Pete Gerken thought it fitting and appropriate to induct these great men who untiringly served the community in selfless ways that would leave their footsteps in the UNION halls and corridors of ONE GOVERNMENT CENTER never to be forgotten.
Each Commissioner spoke about the influence that these two men had on the decisions that they made when entering into public service. Some of the stories told about each were echoed from one voice to another, including family members from each of the Davis and Ford families. The floor was also opened for remarks from others. The agenda included invocation from Mr. Davis' Pastor, Rev. I. J. Johnson of St. Mark Baptist Church, as well as from Rev. Benjamin Green of New Covenant Baptist Church who served as Pastor for Mayor Ford. Mr. Davis' oldest son, a councilman from Albany, N. Y., traveled to Toledo to share in this honor of his father. He shared special moments and memories about his father growing up as a child. He also thanked the Commissioners and community for supporting his father and their family.
Jessica Ford, daughter of Mayor Ford, shared that the role that her father had in her life was very different than the servant, friend, and politician that others spoke about. He was indeed a father and so very much was the father that everyone would have loved to spend their life with. When interviewed she stated that "this day was a day that I will never forget, as it meant so much to me to share the memories and the life of my father with the community". She was thankful that the Commissioners thought enough of her father to honor him in such a manner. She introduced a life long friend of her father, Weldon Douthitt, whom she says is now the father figure in her life. Mr. Douthitt spoke about the experiences serving and working with Mr. Ford that only he could share. He stated that some things he could tell and others he would not. As he shared stories about his friend for life, he became emotional and honored him for being the person that he was, stating even to people that he didn't even know.
Also on hand to pay tribute to the honorees were Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson, Councilwoman Theresa Gabriel, who presented Proclamations for each honoree, being flanked by other members of Council at her side, in the persons of Peter Uvagi, Yvonne Harper, Larry Sykes, and Dr. Cecelia Adams. Former Mayor Carleton Finkbeiner was also present who paid homage to both honorees.
At the end of the day, it was definitely a day to remember about two men who had shared their lives with a community who will forever reap the benefits of the service that they rendered in the City of Toledo. We pay great tribute to Mr. George Davis, Jr. and Mayor John Marshal (Jack) Ford. Your labor has not and will not be in vain. We shall forever remember you!