Sometimes the best ideas are borrowed.
Browsing through Facebook recently, Melanie Forrer of Payne saw a post from a mom in Michigan who decorated her front door to honor her senior student who is missing school, and school-related activities, due to closure from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Forrer liked the idea so much that not only did she decorate her own front door to honor her son, Drew, she shared the idea with friends throughout Paulding County who have seniors. The result is that doors in several towns and villages are decorated, and people who see the doors honk as they drive past.
“So many people were receptive about the idea, because they felt it was important to honor their senior,” said Forrer through tears. “For my son, baseball is life, and for him to not be able to play this spring is heartbreaking. Decorating the door is something we all felt would bring light to the situation, with everything that’s going on. To be honest, decorating the door is the least I could do.”
Forrer started by reaching out to 15 people on Facebook, and soon others were sharing it or tagging their friends in the post. From Payne, to Antwerp, Paulding, Convoy, Haviland, Grover Hill and to people who live in the country, the door-decorating idea found a life of its own.
“My friend from high school, Trisha Fuller, lives on a dead-end street in Antwerp, but she decorated her door to honor her daughter, Alyssa,” said Forrer. “She started contacting senior parents in Antwerp. I reached out to my friend, Dawn Dysinger, in Paulding. Her son, Seth, is a senior, so she decorated a window in her home and spread the word in the Paulding.
“I felt it was important that if we were going to do it, that it should be countywide,” continued Forrer. “I didn’t want it to be just a Wayne Trace thing, an Antwerp thing or Paulding thing, I wanted to make sure that everyone in Paulding County who wanted to honor their senior should have the opportunity to do it. We know that all kids are missing school, but our seniors are missing out on so many of the things they would only do as seniors.
“None of them, or us, ever dreamed we’d be dealing with this (coronavirus),” added Forrer.
Other friends that Forrer reached out to that have decorated their doors for their seniors include: Brooke Vining of Convoy, for her son, Jace; Kayla Miller of Grover Hill, for her son, Reid; Jennifer Zartman of Payne, for her son, Reed; Heidi Reinhart of Payne, for her son, Alex; Kendra Eaken of Antwerp, for her son, Jacob; and Sara Schutte, for her son, Blake.
“A lot of my friends and I have kids that play spring sports, so it’s difficult to see it end like this,” said Forrer, who also has a son, Kyle, in eighth grade.
Forrer and her husband, Mike, also appreciate their friends, Kara and Bruce Whitman of Payne, for bringing over a sign in support of Drew.
“Kara was Drew’s babysitter when he was young, and Bruce is a well-known umpire in the area,” began Forrer. “They were impressed with the decorated doors, so they decorated a sign that says, ‘We’re proud of you Drew!’ and brought it over to show their support for him.”
Although it’s not clear whether or not spring sports will be played at all in Ohio, Forrer is going to hold out hope until she hears otherwise.
“I pray the OHSAA (Ohio High School Athletic Association) gives the kids an opportunity to play, even if it’s a partial season,” said Forrer. “If the season has to back up into the summer, I think it would be good to play. At the end of the day, I know I’m blessed because my kids are healthy and we’re together.”