When founder Ralph Jones’ Wooster Glass Company was recognized as the Wooster Area Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year in 2002, a key component of it was community support. During the introduction, it was said Jones shared the success of his company generously with the community. Because Jones grew up poor in the Cleveland area, he understood what it was like to have to go without things. Because of this, he was a strong supporter of the community, especially through the Wooster Youth Baseball program.
“One thing I believed in was community service,” Jones told those in attendance that night. “If the community has been good to you, you should, in return, leave something to the community.”
Wooster Glass has over the years, and because of it, the community is a better place, attorney Doug Drushal said during the introduction.
Jones not only gave financial contributions to the community, but he gave of his time and talent, too. Jones was a past chairman of the Wooster Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and served on other boards. This legacy of giving back continues today with President Kathy Long, Jones’ daughter, and Vice President Pat Neyhart providing the example for the rest of the Wooster Glass Company team.
Jones understood communities, like baseball teams, had their home-run hitters. But, they also need those who can come in and hit singles and doubles in order to drive in runs and win the game. While not everyone would be able to give back the same amounts, the expectation set by Jones is that people will give something back, in return.
Over the years, Wooster Glass has supported Wooster Youth Baseball, softball teams, bowling teams, a Triway Little League team and teachers in the Wooster City Schools District.
Long served on the Advisory Board of the local Salvation Army, is an emeritus member of the OneEighty board, and is a member of the Wayne County Humane Society board.
Neyhart, like Jones, served as a past chairman of the Wooster Chamber. He is a past president of the Wayne County Public Library board and the Humane Society board.
“My father always said if you’re lucky enough to live in a community that’s good to you, you have to give back,” Long said.
“Our livelihood comes from the community,” Neyhart said. “It behooves us to give back to it.”
One of the reasons why Jones didn’t have a problem with giving back to the community was, “I’ve never seen a Brinks truck follow a hearse to the cemetery.”