Building Community

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“Heroes are not giant statues framed against a red sky. They are people who say: This is my community, and it is my responsibility to make it better.” – Studs Terkel

Charlie and Robi Simms with Jerry Leggett, Director of the Dayton International Peace Museum

Charlie and Robi Simms with Jerry Leggett

On May 2, several of us at Simms Development joined hundreds of others on the First Annual Peace Heroes Walk to honor our peace heroes – those who have taken on that responsibility to make their community better, more just, and more peaceful. People like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day and John Lennon, Judy Collins and Lech Walesa. Local heroes, too, like Karen Armstrong of Compassionate Dayton, Judge Walter Rice, and Christine and Ralph Dull who are founding members of the International Peace Museum here in Dayton.

A small group, gathered for the Walk under the big tent at RiverScape, soon swelled to a crowd of approximately 700 folks by 9:00 in the morning. The organizers of the event were well prepared for the walkers and supplied everyone with t-shirts, bottles of water, and fresh fruit. Participants greeted old friends and strangers alike and enjoyed the music and the display of Peace Hero posters, made especially for this occasion. Introductions of local dignitaries and the Dayton area’s own peace heroes were made by the Master of Ceremonies, Dayton Philharmonic’s Conductor Neal Gittleman, and by Jerry Leggett, Director of the Dayton International Peace Museum and a resident of Patterson Place, a Charles Simms Development in Downtown Dayton.

Team Leaders gather at Riverscape in downtown Dayton, OH for a group photo before the Peace Heroes Walk

Team Leaders gather for a group photo before The Walk

Founded in 2004, the Dayton International Peace Museum raises awareness of nonviolent strategies for achieving peace now and in the future. The vision of Christine and Ralph Dull, local leaders in the international peace community, the Museum honors the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords that ended war in Bosnia. Its mission is to inspire a local, national, and international culture of peace.

Charlie Simms, President of Charles Simms Development, carried a poster of his personal Peace Hero – Greg Mortensen, co-author of Three Cups of Tea and an American humanitarian whose Central Asia Institute promotes the building of schools in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, especially for girls.

A highlight of the walk was to take a detour through the Museum, located downtown, less than a mile from RiverScape, in the beautifully restored Isaac Pollack House, built in 1876, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Without a doubt worth another, longer, more in-depth visit! The Peace Heroes Walk raised over $61,000 to support the Museum and the National Conference for Community and Justice of Greater Dayton.

Building Community and taking on the responsibility of making it better is a Simms Tradition. Simms builds safe, affordable neighborhoods and helps people realize the dream of homeownership, a vital piece of strong communities.

A popular poster widely circulated a few years ago, entitled “How To Build Community”, listed actions each of us can take that help build community…such as: Turn Off Your TV, Leave Your House, Know Your Neighbors, Have Pot Lucks, Talk To The Mail Carrier, Pick Up Litter…and, Listen Before You React to Anger, Mediate A Conflict, Seek To Understand, Learn From New And Uncomfortable Angles, Know That No One Is Silent Though Many Are Not Heard, Work To Change This!

Charlie and Robi Simms finish the Peace Heroes Walk

Charlie and Robi Simms finish the Peace Heroes Walk

Please join us in working to Build Better Community!




“A peace hero is not something we are, but an ideal we reflect in our daily lives.” – Captain Paul Chappell

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