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Blue Tip Festival begins with parade in Wadsworth

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    Downtown's 20-foot Blue Tip match burns bright. A two-mile parade with more than 100 entries officially began Wadsworth's 46th annual Blue Tip Festival on Tuesday.

    JONATHAN DELOZIER / GAZETTE

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    Marian and Virgil Mochel take in the moment Tuesday after Marian served as grand marshal for the Blue Tip parade and was honored for her 50 years of service.

    JONATHAN DELOZIER / GAZETTE

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    Vickie Harris of Wadsworth and Turtledove Braun of Fostoria put on their dancing shoes. A two-mile parade with more than 100 entries officially began Wadsworth's 46th annual Blue Tip Festival on Tuesday.

    JONATHAN DELOZIER / GAZETTE

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    Macie Delnoce and Kate Lally of Wadsworth dance as they wait for the parade to begin. A two-mile parade with more than 100 entries officially began Wadsworth's 46th annual Blue Tip Festival on Tuesday.

    JONATHAN DELOZIER / GAZETTE

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    Wadsworth police officers wave hello to a packed downtown. A two-mile parade with more than 100 entries officially began Wadsworths 46th annual Blue Tip Festival on Tuesday.

    JONATHAN DELOZIER / GAZETTE

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    The Wadsworth High School Marching Band provides musical accompaniment. A two-mile parade with more than 100 entries officially began Wadsworth's 46th annual Blue Tip Festival on Tuesday.

    JONATHAN DELOZIER / GAZETTE

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    Parade grand marshal Marian Mochel is lifted up to light the ceremonial match. A two-mile parade with more than 100 entries officially began Wadsworth's 46th annual Blue Tip Festival on Tuesday.

    JONATHAN DELOZIER / GAZETTE

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    Vans Auto Service and the Michelin Man wave to onlookers. A two-mile parade with more than 100 entries officially began Wadsworth's 46th annual Blue Tip Festival on Tuesday.

    JONATHAN DELOZIER / GAZETTE

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    Holden Porter of Jeromesville, Cayden Brown of Wadsworth, Taylor Brown of Wadsworth, and Gracelynn Owensby of Wadsworth scramble to gather candy. A two-mile parade with more than 100 entries officially began Wadsworths 46th annual Blue Tip Festival on Tuesday.

    JONATHAN DELOZIER / GAZETTE

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    Four-year-old Camryn Taylor of Smithville takes a nap amid the ongoing parade. A two-mile parade with more than 100 entries officially began Wadsworth's 46th annual Blue Tip Festival on Tuesday.

    JONATHAN DELOZIER / GAZETTE

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    Gravy the Dog hands out high-fives. A two-mile parade with more than 100 entries officially began Wadsworth's 46th annual Blue Tip Festival on Tuesday.

    JONATHAN DELOZIER / GAZETTE

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    Girl Scouts show their Wadsworth spirit. A two-mile parade with more than 100 entries officially began Wadsworth's 46th annual Blue Tip Festival on Tuesday.

    JONATHAN DELOZIER / GAZETTE

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WADSWORTH — “I remember talking to a little girl a long time ago who said, ‘All I ever eat is beans, beans, beans,’” said Marian Mochel, who served as grand marshal of Tuesday’s Blue Tip parade. “I wanted to help her and make sure she wasn’t just eating beans anymore.”

On top of lighting downtown Wadsworth’s 20-foot match and ushering in the 46th annual Blue Tip Festival, Mochel was honored Tuesday for her 50 years of community service and founding of Wadsworth FISH, short for Fellowship In Serving Humanity.

She worked as president of the organization for 35 years before retiring in 2004, running operations out of her home and extending nearly $100,000 worth of services to those in need during her final year in the position.

“I started off as a Girl Scout leader and had my own group of Brownies girls,” Mochel said. “Someone told me, ‘You should hear about the home life some of your girls have.’ I found out one of them was living in a place with broken-out windows. It wasn’t a nice place and her family was really struggling. We rounded up toys, bikes, and other supplies and took them over.

“How can kids learn and do what they need to do without food or enjoyment and having their electric turned off?”

Wadsworth FISH has grown into a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to providing short-term emergency assistance with an emphasis on keeping families in their homes. The organization has thrived through forming partnerships with national FISH organizations and the United Way of Summit County, Mochel said.

Mochel has also worked as a home visitor for Isham Elementary School and helped form a model for Wadsworth’s preschool program that earned recognition from the Ohio Department of Education.

“They thought what she was doing was so impressive they wanted to take the model and use it all across Ohio,” said Mochel’s husband of 68 years, Virgil Mochel. “The superintendent at the time said, ‘I don’t know what she’s doing but get out of her way and let her keep doing it.’”

“She ran FISH all those years out of the house and that meant zero overhead,” he added. “That let everything that was brought in go toward helping kids and helping the community.”

Family members helped Mochel into the lift on Monday that let her light the ceremonial match.

“I remember her being on the phone a lot,” said her daughter, Carol Bartsch. “She still meets people in the street who recognize her and say, ‘You helped me.’ I know that always feels really good for her.”

“I remember them as kids but they see me and they’re all grown up,” said Mochel. “You form friendships with them and a lot of people and you hope that little bit you did made a difference for them.”

Marian’s Closet, an all-volunteer free clothing and small appliance store located at 154 East St., gained its name from Mochel.

“It was a complete surprise to her,” said Virgil. “They called her out, pulled the cover off the side, and there was her name. I thought it was pretty fitting.”

Mochel encouraged her fellow Wadsworth residents to get involved with FISH and other community organizations.

FISH is now located at 150 College St. and holds Monday and Tuesday night meetings, she said.

“That first step means a lot when you start out,” she said. “I had to take it. You can take it too and you’ll feel good about it.”

Contact reporter Jonathan Delozier at (330) 721-4050 or jdelozier@medina-gazette.com.


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