Kevin Crowley seamlessly pulled off a juggling act Monday morning, while working and socializing at a celebration designed to honor his service to the community.
The executive director of People in Need, or PIN, was the next person in Delaware County recognized by NBC4 WCMH-TV as part of its “central Ohio’s Everyday Heroes” initiative, which started in early June.
Crowley said he was flabbergasted at the turnout, which included three county commissioners — two of which have spouses on the board — the city mayor and the nonprofit organization’s staff, volunteers, supporters and partners.
“I just can’t get over it,” he said. “That says a lot about PIN.”
Attendants honored Crowley outside of PIN’s headquarters at 138 Johnson Drive, while enjoying the food catered by Schmidt’s restaurant. Monica Day from NBC4 interviewed Crowley and Sandy Mackey, a spokeswoman for the Delaware County Emergency Management Agency.
PIN has served the Delaware County community for more than three decades. The organization is known for its food pantry that provides food to families for four days a week each month. It also provides emergency relief for those that fall behind bills such as utilities and rent and hosts a monthly food market.
“I just happen to be the face (of PIN),” Crowley said. He added that he couldn’t do the job without the help from the staff, board members, volunteers and partner organizations such as United Way and the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.
“It’s really they who should be getting the recognition,” he said.
Mackey, who nominated Crowley for the recognition, disagreed.
“Kevin is very modest and a humble person,” she said.
Delaware Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle agreed and said “it takes a strong leader like Kevin,” to shape an organization such as PIN.
During the event, Mackey said she didn’t fail to notice how Crowley was still working during the event as if it was a normal Monday. He helped set up tables for the early lunch outside and found time to check the quality of donated food with help from volunteers Doris McKee and Mary Lou Wilgus, both from Delaware, and Marjorie Parrish of Ostrander. After the photo opportunities, Crowley got on a forklift to move delivered donations inside the facility.
“He works hard,” Parrish said. “Easy to work with.”
Wilgus, who’s volunteered at the nonprofit for more than 30 years, said Crowley deserves the recognition.
Randy Bournique, associate director of PIN, said Crowley has seen the organization grow under his leadership for about 20 years. About six years ago, PIN used to be located in a “small house” on Sandusky Street that housed more than 40,000 food items at the time, Bournique said. The organization can now hold more than 190,000 items at its 70,200 square-foot facility.
“He not only helps people who come,” PIN board member Jim Lewis said. “He gives them a hug.”
“I’m really at a loss for words,” he added. “[And] I talk about him 24/7.”
His wife, Delaware County Commission President Barb Lewis, said the organization has helped families over the years and some of their future generations return as volunteers.
NBC4 also recognized Delaware County Emergency Medical Services Chief Mike Schuiling as an “everyday hero” last month.
Brandon Klein can be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.