By Sandi Latimer
Back when plans were being developed for a facility to work with troubled boys, a young man named Leslie Bostic was called upon the lead it.
“I only had a master’s degree,” he recalled June 2 when he was recognized by the Grove City Rotary Club with its first Service Above Self award.
The award, explained Rotary President Larry Titus, is in recognition of those citizens who have brought honor to Grove City through lifelong “Service Above Self” which has had a lasting influence on the city, state, nation or world.
Bostic brought with him experience as a prison guard, probation officer and clinical social worker along with his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work.
Through the next 40 years, Bostic worked to obtain his doctorate in social work while growing what was known as Buckeye Boys Ranch on the south edge of Grove City. Today, Buckeye Ranch and its sprawling 100 acres are surrounded by planned growth of a city that still maintains its small town flavor, Titus said.
The word ‘Boys’ was dropped from the facility’s name when girls were allowed to be part of the program. The award also noted that the facility grew without going into debt or getting a line of credit. Bostic was also recognized for raising $4 million for the equestrian therapy center, an administrative center and a family life center.
After retirement, Bostic joined the city of Grove City as administrator. Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage, in a proclamation signed by all council members, said Bostic’s work throughout his time in Grove City changed the lives of lots of children and families.
Tears were evident when Bostic’s two children offered praise for their father.
“It’s an honor and a privilege” said son Jeff, and, pointing to his father sitting in the front row beside the podium, “Here is our privilege.
“We’re proud of this and proud of Les,” he said as he, his father and his sister Lisa embraced beside the podium.
The ceremony broke and the standing-room-only crowd in city council chambers adjourned to the north side of city hall where a plaque citing highlights of Bostic’s career was unveiled adjacent to a Rotary plaque telling why the honor is given.
Titus said this will be an annual presentation and not given as a Rotarian of the Year honor. He said the local club had been working on this project for two years and had wanted to do the presentation at the end of 2017, but things didn’t work out. He hopes to make the presentation every year now during homecoming weekend.