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2021 Thanksgiving Wattle Lifetime Award Winner
Each Thanksgiving Morning, just prior to the Thanksgiving Wattle 5K start, we award a citizen from the Southwest side with the Thanksgiving Wattle Lifetime Impact Award. This is given to a person who has made a significant impact on those around them. These are often behind the scenes, unassuming people, who desire no recognition and are just using their gifts to help others. This year is no different. We would like to announce that Colton Showalter, 26 years old, of Grove City, will be named the youngest ever Wattle Lifetime Impact Award Winner. We will plant a tree with a plaque in his honor in a Grove City Park. During the ceremonies we will also award him with an “in the home” plaque and other gifts.
Colton Showalter is 26 years old and was born with Cerebral Palsy. His auditory skills are limited; Colton uses sign language, his heart, and mobile technology to communicate and interact with others. He graduated from Grove City High School (GCHS) in 2015. He earned straight A’s in High School, inspired greatly by his teacher, Ms. Joyce, Digiannantoni.
Everyone noticed Colton’s display of positivity during his 4 years at GCHS. “I think the biggest attribute that really stood out while he was here at Grove City was his enthusiasm for everyone and every sport. I saw him at all the games and constantly cheering for each sport. He was very active and never let his disability prevent him from communicating with all students and staff here at GCHS. He was “all in" with everything he did!! He constantly demonstrated the most enthusiasm I have ever seen at our pep rallies and in the student sections,” explained Mrs. Linda Conti, a Grove City High School Health teacher.
Colton always enjoyed attending games of all the various sports: football, baseball, basketball, volleyball, tennis, etc. and he still attends many of GCHS events today. Colton also performed in Men’s choir in high school, and loved going to band practices and supporting the GCHS Band. As an adult, he participates in the Polar Plunge when possible, to help raise monies for designated charities. He also runs in various endurance events, up to and including a Half Marathon.
Post GCHS graduation, Colton is employed by OhioHealth at Doctors West. He also is a volunteer at the Jackson Township Fire Department, where he cleans trucks and floors. He has even had a chance to perform light-duty in some controlled burns. Colton is certainly a favorite of our first responders, Grove City Police and Jackson Township Fire Department. He has influenced a comradery between these two entities through his deep involvement and appreciation of these two public service departments.
This past summer, several Grove City friends and colleagues have had the pleasure of helping Colton Showalter get back in shape for running 5Ks. He had not been running much during the pandemic and really wanted to get back into it. Those of us joining him on these Mon-Fri training runs truly experienced a great joy in seeing how the community and student athletes treated him with such dignity, like a celebrity. Colton is energized by the attention and salutations from coaches and players alike as he and his running buddies run the 3.1 miles through GCHS, Murfin, and the Haughn Road Bike Path. It is a true testament to the importance of adults demonstrating inclusive and positive behavior to the youth they are influencing. Coach Greg Waits, Coach Ryan Alexander and the faculty/staff at GCHS have modeled this in an exemplary way. Alexander and GCPD Sgt. Justin Gallo, will be presenting Colton with the Lifetime Impact Award at the Wattle 5K Starting Ceremonies on 1270 Lamplighter Drive, near 8:50am on Thursday, November 25, 2021. Please come out to help us celebrate this milestone for Colton.
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