Posted: 12:00 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013

‘Pledge to Serve’ sends local man to Presidential Inauguration

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‘Pledge to Serve’ sends local man to Presidential Inauguration photo
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Leroy Reshard
‘Pledge to Serve’ sends local man to Presidential Inauguration photo
Contributed
West Chester Twp. resident Leroy Reshard and his wife, Audrey, attended the 2013 Inauguration of President Barack Obama.

By Hannah Poturalski

Staff Writer

WEST CHESTER TWP. —

The volunteer efforts of Leroy Reshard won him and his wife, Audrey, a free trip to the Presidential Inauguration last month.

Reshard, a West Chester Twp. resident, attended the swearing-in ceremony, inaugural speech and inaugural ball in Washington, D.C., as the winner of the Pledge to Serve contest.

Reshard, who has been a volunteer and mentor of at-risk students for 20 years, was entered into the contest when he signed up to volunteer on the National Day of Service on Jan. 19.

“I appreciate that the president dedicated time during Inauguration Week to recognize all that community volunteers can do for our country,” Reshard said. “So many people go to work every day and have no idea what’s going on around them. There is a whole community of people around us who need uplifting.”

Before moving to West Chester Twp. about 15 years ago, Reshard worked as a sales representative for 3M in Atlanta, Ga. After a promotion to account executive, he thought he would feel fulfilled in his life.

“I felt an emptiness in life, and thought the promotion would fill that,” Reshard said.

After it didn’t, he started volunteering at an alternative school for at-risk children. A sophomore named Mario changed his outlook on life. The two met once a week as Reshard helped Mario “refocus his life.”

“He said to me, ‘I didn’t know one man could love another,’ ” Reshard said. “Volunteering with at-risk students has become a passion of mine. I realized I could help them find their voice.”

Reshard now volunteers weekly at Lakota West Freshman School, teaching communication and leadership skills through his program “Chief Encouragement Officer of Self.” He also founded a student mentoring program at his church, Quinn Chapel AME Church in Forest Park.

Reshard previously served eight years on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Butler County. He is also a member of the Rotary Club of West Chester/Liberty.

Reshard admits when he first received the news from the Presidential Inaugural Committee, he thought it might be a hoax. It wasn’t until he verified his name with the hotel after receiving reservations that he believed it was real.

“It’s a chance of a lifetime; just to say we were there is amazing,” he said. “It was as cold as the dickens that day, but I enjoyed the swearing in and speech.”

Reshard said it was unique to have the inauguration events fall on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“Martin Luther King is a person I admire and someone who’s done a lot for the U.S.,” Reshard said.

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