Baumhower: People “hate” me in Waterville, Ohio

Written by: Jeremy Baumhower

Myles Eckert and Jeremy Baumhower. Photo captured in March of 2014.

Myles Eckert and Jeremy Baumhower. Photo captured in March of 2014.

I was recently contacted by a friend who lives in Waterville, Ohio. It was a unsolicited communication, but they thought I would like to know how the people of their town, their neighbors feel about me.

It stated “General consensus is (from Waterville residents) that you’re a trouble maker & drama starter. People hate you…”

It breaks my heart when such strong words are being used to describe me. It’s confusing that people can feel so strongly about myself, but the very things I point out and highlight… get a pass from their judgement.

It should be noted that I am a storyteller, a columnist, a father, a person who is simply trying to better the very place I am raising my family. My method is simple; share stories of those worthy of telling.

The thing about inspiring stories is that they often inspire others to do something. The more you share, the more you celebrate, the more good that will happen.

In a time of history where war, divisive politics, school shootings and violence dominate the nightly news and social media newsfeeds, why not look for stories and people to remind us about all the good that remains in this world, especially in our town

In the past couple of months we’ve had a 9 year-old war orphan, who’s pay-it-forward kindness has raised close to $2 million for other Gold Star children. Over the weekend a 14 year-old boy carried his brother with Cerebral Palsy, 40 miles to Ann Arbor, another magical moment that made every newspaper in North America.

Notice something in common about these two stories?

Children are doing a better job than the grown-up at highlighting and promoting the very fabric of character that defines NW Ohio and SE Michigan. Children who were raised with the very values that differentiate ourselves from our fellow Americans. These are kids simply trying to make a difference, whom are surrounded with enough love and support to actually try.

These are the stories that make living here great. Its an honor and privilege to help share them with the world.

The one thing that I will not tolerate is bullying. As rampant as it is, it’s a battle I am willing to fight. With every new heartbreaking story of a bullied child, comes the attention that could change this behavior in the future for another victim.

To those living in Waterville, Ohio that I have annoyed and offended:

99% of you are fantastic, humble, hard-working proud people. I know it is not fair that my stories have lumped you in with this other 1% of bad, it is not my intention. My suggestion is the next time a moment of ugly comes out of your area, figure out a way to make it beautiful. If you do beautiful things, your children will start doing beautiful things. When it happens… I will champion it even more than any I have shared in the past. I can’t wait to share those stories.


Columnist, Writer for Radio Shows across the US & Canada, Promoter, Believer, Father

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Posted in Baumhower, Bullying, Column, Discussion, Family, Fatherhood, Feels, Life, Myles Eckert, Parenting, Schools, Waterville
11 comments on “Baumhower: People “hate” me in Waterville, Ohio
  1. Heather King-Lear says:

    I grew up in west Toledo and have not lived there in almost 15 years. I still have all of my family and childhood friends in T-town. I have pride for the city in which I was raised, and my father patrolled the streets as a police officer for 38 years. The entire reason that I started reading and sharing your articles is for the positive message and content about the city that I do love so. Keep doing exactly what you are doing, and know that it does make a difference. Misery loves company, and it always will, don’t let the negativity get to you.


  2. Concerned Parent says:


    I do not know you personally but I feel it might be the best opportunity to say something. I am one for sharing the positive in our community and building off these stories to promote others to strive for the same. I agree with you in that sense, but on the other hand I am not sure why someone who states, ” If you do beautiful things, your children will start doing beautiful things. When it happens… I will champion it even more than any I have shared in the past. I can’t wait to share those stories,” continues to find the faults of one particular school district or primary school and just keep beating the drum over and over. That is killing your positivity vibe in itself! If you feel that way, state it and be done with with it, don’t feel the need to continue writing story after story rewording your same vitriol for them. If we are following your own philosophy, wouldn’t be easy for other children to sense your angst towards a school and then carry that into their own actions and thoughts?
    Being in public education is not an easy profession. I am definitely not going to stand here and say that all children are going to make the most caring positive decisions in the world. They are children in fact, I don’t want it to be seen as just an AW problem, there are going to be stories like this no matter what school district you stop and live in for awhile. Please don’t keep focusing on these negative stories, because they are in fact going against what you are in fact claiming you want to do with this blog. I hope we are all aware that there are children and adults in this world that are going to be hurtful and make poor decisions, which is why we need to have blogs like yours to focus on the positive only. Please think twice before continuing the onslaught of bashing of a particular school system, when in fact there is no way we could know all the interior facts of a particular situation unless you have done all the fact checking yourself (not by hearsay).

    ***Off Soapbox***


    • Erin says:

      So, instead of addressing the problem of bullying the better thing to do is to pretend like it doesn’t happen? Talking about specific cases is vitally important and should not be ignored. This is a topic that deserves attention and it would be irresponsible for those who have the power to make change and share information to ignore it.


  3. MadMama says:

    Dear Concerned Parent,

    I just want to thank you (insert sarcasm here) for being a perfect example of “sweeping it under the rug”. You and people who think like you are part of the problem!!! “State your story and be done with it.” “Don’t continue writing story after story.” “Please don’t keep focusing on negative stories.” All your words. Bullying is SERIOUS! Bullying causes death. If bullying doesn’t cause death it can cause a lifetime of self-hate. This is a REAL issue that happened at a school that was considered one of the best schools to be at. It is not too hard to do your so called “fact checking” when the issue is made public. The school did nothing even after a child died because of bullying. Sick. Sad. Pathetic. If Mr. Baumhower is hated in Waterville for this reason, then kudos to him and THANK YOU for being hated. At least now we have people talking about it. And I hope people never stop talking about it. Kids…stop being a-holes…parents stop showing them how to be a-holes.

    I understand this blog is for fluffy bunny stuff but sometimes life is not all fluffy bunny and issues need to come to light. I am glad this was put out there. Now…back to fluffy bunny stuff.


    • Concerned Parent says:

      Mad Mama (Maam),

      I do not know you either and I will not begin to think about getting into any sort of decorum where we go back and forth (that proves fruitless and is not needed at all). I will simply restate my thoughts and hope that you can rationally read through without turning to sarcasm. I am not trying to stir anything at all, I believe that there is a one sided situation going on here within these articles and I am not by any means belittling the seriousness of the loss of children. To suggest that I am sweeping it under the rug does make me want to react with words, but I feel that we are both on the same side of the ugliness that is bullying.
      There is a problem whenever anybody uses the term “you and people who think like you.” We can not group people with such a wide net and think we can encapsulate every person and who they are that way. Like I said, I do not know you personally, and I feel that if we were to hold a conversation we would have a lot of the same feelings and thoughts on public stories. I for one am not on a Pro-Bully Stance(nor, would I hope any adult would be) and feel that the fabric of our society is falling apart at the seams when it comes to common courtesy between each other. I cringe and cry every time I hear a story of youth loss because of words and actions that could easily be taught to children at a young age. I am surrounded by the youth of our community daily and see the negativity that comes with harsh words from child to child. I also know that within the same four walls that there are 20 great kiddos for every child who needs the guidance of an adult. I truly believe that it starts with the parents, and if we could educate them on how their own actions and words filter down to their children throughout a school day, maybe we could make a difference. My intentions in my first post was not to anger anyone, by any means, but I wanted to state that this issue that seems to be focused on one community, is not just Waterville’s problem, it is indeed a National issue within all schools and communities.

      As I said, this is not to “retaliate” or come back at you. Please don’t take it as such, I am foremost a parent who would be appalled and angered if my own children were subject to any of these recent stories. But I also need to remember that I can make a change not just with words on a blog or a comment board, but true change can be made when we become people of action and “do” things in the community to build it stronger!


  4. Annie says:

    Concerned Parent,

    I don’t mean to pile on, but Mr. Baumhower makes a good point about Waterville. It is indeed sad that young Myles’ school administrators could not find it in their hearts to celebrate this child.

    Think about your own family. When your child has a big accomplishment — say, graduating from high school, or winning an award — doesn’t the whole family celebrate the accomplishments of one?

    Why would Waterville Elementary not be proud to claim this child as one of their own, and to celebrate him? It would not have cost the school a cent, and could have earned the school some valuable (and obviously NEEDED, at this point) positive PR.

    If I were a parent at the school, I’d be writing to the principal and school board members about this child and his accomplishments — and the fact that the school has turned down a chance to recognize them.

    Sorry, Concerned Parent, it IS a fact. Mr. Baumhower is simply exposing it. Your suggestion that he look the other way and stick to “good news” is wrongheaded. You should be writing to the school instead and asking the administrators what they have against young Myles.


  5. Sharon says:

    Thank you for bringing this bullying at AW up. My children all went to AW and It has gone on for years. I taught my children to respect everyone and treat everyone with kindness. It is not just the school system that needs to fix this, parents need to be aware of what is going on as well. Kids learn not only from their peers but also their parents. If a child grows up seeing their patent bulling others, then the kids thinks it is OK. Parents need to teach their kids by example, teach them morals, manners and respect! We are a community and one that I used to be proud of! We all need to come together and work this out. For our community and for our kids!


  6. so sad lately says:

    No, it is not just Waterville’s problem, it seems to be district wide and though all districts have issues- this one, right now, has many serious ones that are finally being addressed. Hopefully enough so that we will see needed changes before we continue to chase out the good families while protecting the wrong ones.


  7. Angered Mom says:

    Why is Waterville the focus here, other than the feedback? The school is monclova and the bully technically lives in Maumee due to the UPSCALE development. People are going to hate. Period. But this family is the definition of rich, snobby, narcissistic…..and in many cases one can never win against people like this.
    I think you do an amazing job writing and standing up for what’s right. Bullying is everywhere, but we can stand up against them together. I’ll be damned if my child is going to be a victims because this kid is a time bomb! I’m so glad I now know who it is!


  8. Sam I Am says:

    How is the school NOT celebrating ONE student bullying? I too am concerned over the epidemic that is bullying, but I do not feel the school did anything “wrong”. I feel it is just as bad to place one student on a pedestal as it would be to place one in a corner. What Myles has done is great, and he has had plenty of recognition for his achievements, but at the end of the day, the school is there to provide him an education, the media and his friends and family are there to cheer for his achievements.
    I think of all the child stars of TV and the music industry. They get fame, fortune, glory, but when they go to school they are still just a student. If the school treated them ‘special” and like the media does, how would that work for their education, and social learning/ They will always think of themselves as better than their fellow classmates and feel they deserve preferential treatment. So then we produce a Justin Beiber type…I don’t think we want any of that.
    I do believe Bullying is a problem in our schools, but I do not feel the Myles case fits that bill.
    Look at the story of Kaylee Halko…this is bullying. It is from the same school Myles go to, and it is a sad story of uneducated youths bullying a sweet innocent girl. The school has failed her, and failed at teaching the offenders what is acceptable in society.
    I hope all understand, I know the Eckart family and I love Myles and what he has accomplished, but not placing him above the other students is NOT bullying, it called humbling! He cannot feel he is different, nor more deserving than any other students…and I believe if you ask him he would agree.


  9. my daughter left AW because of bullying says:

    I’m from Waterville and I don’t hate you! My husband and I both graduated from AW. Our daughter attended there from kindergarten until halfway through the school year in 7th grade. The bullying started in kindergarten and got much worse in 5th & 6th. 7th was awful! This isn’t just an AW problem but AW needs to handle these situations differently. The school didn’t do anything for my daughter. We knew who the kids were and had proof. Via texting. We were told since the bullying happened over Christmas break not at AW the school couldn’t do anything. We never sent her back to AW! Maybe if enough people see these stories something will change! Maybe AW will reevaluate their bullying policies or enforce their current policies. Especially with all the attention they have gotten lately. I would have thought the death of Kayla would wake them up! I truly believe that could have been my daughter.


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