GREENVILLE — Ron Asman, of Greenville, is a private contractor serving as resident technician, at St. Clair Memorial Hall.
His duties include dealing with all of the technical aspects of a show, such as: lighting, sound and general maintenance. His connection to the hall came much earlier, in the 1970s, when he and his family moved to Greenville.
“More than 30 years of my life are involved in this memorial hall,”Asman said.
Over the years Asman noticed people standing at St. Clair Memorial Hall, while waiting for the performances to start. He said it bothered him.
“A few times last year, I noticed people sitting on the steps out here, and I know we have an aging population around,” he said. “I saw there was a need for benches out in the lobby area.”
As a result, he started a bench project last year. He found two types of portable benches that blend into the decor of the hall: upholstered and wooden. Veteran Rocky Farmer, of New Madison, is making the legs for the upholstered benches as a gift to the hall, Asman said. Until recently, Asman was purchasing the benches from his own funds; they are $177 each shipped. So far, he has purchase about 14.
“I bought the original batch of benches and they are packed full during events,” he said. “I still see people sitting on the steps and we need more.”
Justin Thomas Ord, of Greenville, opened a fundraiser for Asman on Facebook, “The Seating Project” by Friends of Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall. It has been open for one-and-one-half weeks, with a goal of $2,250 to buy 12 more benches. According to Ord, the fundraiser has brought in $1,245 and counting.
“I am just tickled to find this many people who are being supportive,” Asman said.
Ord said her remembers as a kid sitting on the steps, and having to move out of the way of the people coming down. He saw an online post of Asman’s asking for help to purchase the benches.
“Discovering the benches were for Memorial Hall – how could I not help,” he said. “Who doesn’t have a connection to Memorial Hall? My daughter and I have been on-stage here, my dad sang on the stage, my mom sold concessions for my brother’s Wavaires and my sister danced.”
Ord said through Facebook, he found an inexpensive way to raise the money. In addition, the money is deposited in an account, weekly, he said. The donations are coming from all over the country, from people who have a connection to the hall, Ord said.
“The benches are needed and they look great,” he said. “People are coming together to improve the community. The hall is a major Greenville landmark. When people out of town come here, they can’t believe how beautiful this place is. As a Greenville citizen, I want to be able to give back. Getting the word out is my way to do that. People sometimes are in that mindset that someone else can do it and someone will do it eventually – that doesn’t get things done. Instead of saying ‘we need’ and ‘maybe some day’, Ron has stepped forward and said, ‘I am doing this’.”
In addition to the benches, Asman has also funded coat racks and some LED lighting for the hall.
“We were noticing people falling and tripping on the steps,” Asman said. “Adding the LED lights has lit the stairways a little more, without disturbing the performances. I don’t want to see things take away from the performances.”
Greenville City School District Superintendent Doug Fries said Asman is an outstanding employee for the Darke County Center of the Arts.
“He goes above and beyond a normal employee services,” Fries said. “Ron also gives endless time helping with lights and sound at all the Greenville City Schools Music and Theater Productions. Ron has also made many donations to help the Memorial Hall. His latest are the benches in the entrance lobby of the hall for people to sit down on. This was a great touch and greatly appreciated by the school district and community. Thank you Ron for your donations and dedicated service to Memorial Hall.”
It seems that Asman is in the caring business.
“You have to take care of the customer,” he said. “And if you take care of them, hopefully they will take care of you. Everybody has an attachment to Memorial Hall through the years; everyone is giving.
To donate to “The Seating Project”, visit https://www.facebook.com/donate/1493022374112894/
The writer may be reached at 937-569-4354. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.
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