SIDNEY — “All the things that are worth doing, take time.” The quote, attributed to Yaslin Bey, the hip hop artist better known as Mos Def, could easily apply to the project being completed this week in Sidney by Sidney High School graduate Cole Hofmann.
A standout baseball player who earned all-Greater Western Ohio Conference American League first-team honors as a catcher, Hofmann graduated from Sidney High School in 2017. Now a student athlete at Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin, Hofmann is majoring in sociology with a minor in law and justice.
Hofmann began working on his project when he was a junior at Sidney High School. Three years later, the project is near completion.
Hofmann returned home just a couple of days ago for Fall Break. He returned to Beloit for classes, which resume today, Oct. 22.
“College classes will resume in just a few days and I wanted to spend some time with my family,” Hofmann said. “This project has been on my list of things to finish for a long time, but it seemed like both athletics and academics kept getting in the way. While I’m home, I simply wanted to get this finished so that those who served would know that Sidney is a community that appreciates veterans.”
While a junior at Sidney High School, he and the other American Government students in Jamie Whitman’s American Government classes were assigned to complete an Apathy Project. Hofmann, the son of Jon and Monica Hofmann, said the intent of the project was to counter the pervasiveness of apathy in society.
As Hofmann began to research Combat Parking, “I thought maybe that would be a good idea. Mr. Whitman agreed, although I suspect that he was beginning to doubt that I would ever finish!”
Hoffman determined that his project would be to work with city officials to create Combat Parking spaces. Combat Parking is a program promoted by the Wounded Warrior Family Support organization.
Combat Parking spaces are reserved for wounded warriors, Purple Heart recipients or any veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). With the help of city officials, Hoffmann identified spots in the downtown area and erected eight signs last week.
Hofmann actually made his presentation before Sidney City Council in February 2016. Councilmembers enthusiastically endorsed his project.
“The parking plates were donated by the Wounded Warrior Family Support organization,” Hoffman stated. “The signposts were donated by Shane Roe and Dave Nagel. The city installed the posts.
“The only requirement by the city was that the signs had to be erected according to local guidelines that apply to similar handicap parking signs,” Hoffman continued. “The city has no way to regulate the signs. As a result, we are relying on the honor system for those parking in the spaces.”
“I admire Cole’s determination to finish what he started,” Whitman said. “He has a tremendous appreciation for those who served, something that came through when he was in my class. Obviously given the passage of time, he could have not finished the project and few would have been the wiser. But that’s not who Cole is, and the community will be better for it.”
“The dedicated Combat Parking spaces are a welcome addition downtown,” Shelby County Veteran Services Executive Director Chris North told Hofmann. “It is a very respectful gesture and is greatly appreciated.”