By GLYNIS VALENTI
Times Leader Staff Writer
ADENA-Amy and John Sebring help people every day. That is, aside from their careers at two area hospitals. "I always wanted to be a nurse," says Amy, an RN who has worked at Harrison Community Hospital for 25 years. "I graduated from Belmont Technical College and went right to work at Harrison."
T-L Photo/GLYNIS VALENTI
Amy and John Sebring, seated, “are always there to help” according to friends and neighbors. The Sebring children, Trevor, left, and Audrey, are following similar paths thanks to their parents’ examples.
John says his work in public safety is "all I've ever known." Holding a master's in safety engineering from West Virginia University, he has worked in health care for 27 years and is presently the director of safety and security at Wheeling Hospital. John's father taught EMT classes, however, and that is where he developed his interest in the fire department and emergency squad. "I've been a paramedic since 1976," and John now teaches the EMT classes in which he grew up-and in which he met Amy. They've been married for 23 years.
According to friends and neighbors, the couple doesn't limit ministering to the sick and keeping people safe to their day jobs. Long-time friend and fellow township trustee Ron Maylan and everyone else describe them as "assets to Adena and the township" and proceed to explain why.
Trevor Sebring, a junior at Buckeye Local High School, writes that he is "proud to call John and Amy my parents" because of their commitment to serving the community. John is also a fire fighter and paramedic, carrying on his own father's work while fostering Trevor's interest in medicine. Trevor works as a cadet at the fire station and has, with Amy's encouragement, begun volunteering in a hospital emergency room. Amy and John's influence is also apparent with daughter Audrey, a fifth grader at West Elementary, who says she would like to be a doctor. In his work with the Adena Fire Department, John has secured grants to help them acquire a fire truck and a rescue, or brush, truck.
John is serving his second full term as a trustee for Smithfield Township, saying that fiscal management and working within the budget is the trustees' focus. "That and keeping the roads open," he laughs. "We've got to keep people moving, so they can get to work." He's also been an active Lions Club member for more than 10 years. Friend Bob Thompson adds, "The town is lucky to have him."
More notable than their civic groups and professions, however, is what most of the community doesn't see, the "going out of their way" deeds that are most appreciated.
Joy Lachendro writes, "I live in Cleveland, and my older and sickly parents are still living in Adena. Amy and John have gone out of their way to help. They call to check up on them; they have a key for their mail box, so that when it's bad outside they deliver the mail to them. When John and Amy are out and about they call and see if my parents need anything from the store or to eat. They don't have to do any of this, but, out of the goodness of their hearts and our friendship, they do. It means the world to me and my parents."
Another friend, Chris Thompson of Adena, calls Amy "the town nurse," because people regularly ask her for medical advice, and Amy has a habit of checking on sick friends and neighbors, even bringing them food. During the interview with this reporter, Amy mentioned plans to pick up pizza that afternoon for a friend recovering from surgery. The Thompsons and others note that people will often call the Sebrings before calling an emergency into 911, even in the middle of the night.
Lachendro adds that Amy and John made themselves available to her throughout her battle with breast cancer. Now that she is a six-year survivor, "They come to Cleveland every September to walk with me in the 3-mile Susan B. Komen 'Race for the Cure.' That is what best friends do."
John and Amy agree that they both like helping those in need, but also like interacting with people in general. Each spring Amy looks forward to hanging her porch swing in front of the house in which she's lived all her life and talking with people as they go by. John smiles as he talks about Adena's Heritage Days and the inevitable gathering under the Sebring carport. "Last year we had about 125 people here. Everyone just stops to talk," and then there's a party.
Chris Thompson thinks they're just friendly people. "John's got to know who you are and where you're from," she laughs. "If you walk down the street past their house and say hi, he'll probably invite you in for a bite to eat."
Appreciated by friends, neighbors and their children, John and Amy are shy about the recognition. "We're just quiet people," he says. "There's no bigger gratification than helping someone in need. Sometimes in our jobs we see people at their worst. They just need a little help."
Do you have a great neighbor or know someone like the Sebrings? If so, nominate them for "Hey!?That's my neighbor."
Send your name and telephone number along with the nominee's name and telephone number as well as the reason for their nomination to: Shaunna Dunder Hershberger, The Times Leader, 200 S. Fourth St., Martins Ferry, Ohio 43935 or email firstname.lastname@example.org