5 uplifting stories: Hamilton couple opens Oliver’s Toy Chest, New Hamilton park to be named for Steve Timmer and more

Samantha Schmidt and David Robbins have opened a brick-and-mortar toy store in honor of their son, Oliver, 10, who died in October from complications of a bone marrow transplant. He had a form of leukemia and his parents promised they'd open a toy store when he got better. Instead, the store was opened in his memory. The store is opening Tuesday, May 3 on what would have been his 11th birthday. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

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Samantha Schmidt and David Robbins have opened a brick-and-mortar toy store in honor of their son, Oliver, 10, who died in October from complications of a bone marrow transplant. He had a form of leukemia and his parents promised they'd open a toy store when he got better. Instead, the store was opened in his memory. The store is opening Tuesday, May 3 on what would have been his 11th birthday. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Here is a look at five positive Butler County stories that were in the news this week.


New Hamilton park to be named in honor of man who is leading its development

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Steve Timmer, executive director of Hamilton Parks Conservancy, stands inside a greenhouse the Conservancy uses to grow plants that will be installed around Hamilton in various parks. Timmer is retiring but will likely continue to help with projects. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Steve Timmer, executive director of Hamilton Parks Conservancy, stands inside a greenhouse the Conservancy uses to grow plants that will be installed around Hamilton in various parks. Timmer is retiring but will likely continue to help with projects. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

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Steve Timmer, executive director of Hamilton Parks Conservancy, stands inside a greenhouse the Conservancy uses to grow plants that will be installed around Hamilton in various parks. Timmer is retiring but will likely continue to help with projects. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Hamilton’s 2014 Citizen of the Year was taken aback by City Council and the Hamilton Parks Conservancy he led from its inception until earlier this year.

Steve Timmer, who stayed on with the conservancy as a project manager, was at City Council’s regular meeting Wednesday presenting a park project he had been championing. Then, Mayor Pat Moeller, Councilmember Carla Fiehrer and Hamilton Parks Conservancy board President James Fitton approached Timmer.

Fiehrer and Fitton said the honor they were about to bestow upon Timmer was not only a unanimous decision, but a fitting one.

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Hamilton couple opens Oliver’s Toy Chest in memory of son

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Samantha Schmidt and David Robbins have opened a brick-and-mortar toy store in honor of their son, Oliver, 10, who died in October from complications of a bone marrow transplant. He had a form of leukemia and his parents promised they'd open a toy store when he got better. Instead, the store was opened in his memory. The store is opening Tuesday, May 3 on what would have been his 11th birthday. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Samantha Schmidt and David Robbins have opened a brick-and-mortar toy store in honor of their son, Oliver, 10, who died in October from complications of a bone marrow transplant. He had a form of leukemia and his parents promised they'd open a toy store when he got better. Instead, the store was opened in his memory. The store is opening Tuesday, May 3 on what would have been his 11th birthday. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

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Samantha Schmidt and David Robbins have opened a brick-and-mortar toy store in honor of their son, Oliver, 10, who died in October from complications of a bone marrow transplant. He had a form of leukemia and his parents promised they'd open a toy store when he got better. Instead, the store was opened in his memory. The store is opening Tuesday, May 3 on what would have been his 11th birthday. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

A Hamilton couple is debuting a new toy store today in downtown Hamilton, which is a tribute to their son who died last year from complications of a bone marrow transplant.

Today also would have been Oliver Robbins’ 11th birthday.

“Oliver had a deep, deep love for toys and collecting; we have a whole room just dedicated to his collection,” said David Robbins. “He would be amazed just walking into it.”

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Mother’s Day 5K has come ‘full circle’ for Middletown couple engaged after race

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Alex and Kenzie Bruns, and some members of the wedding party, wore running attire to their wedding at Smith Park in Middletown. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Alex and Kenzie Bruns, and some members of the wedding party, wore running attire to their wedding at Smith Park in Middletown. SUBMITTED PHOTO

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Alex and Kenzie Bruns, and some members of the wedding party, wore running attire to their wedding at Smith Park in Middletown. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Richard Gere and Julia Roberts starred in the movie “Runaway Bride.”

If there was a movie called “Married Marathoners,” it could feature Alex and Kenzie Bruns.

Five years ago, Alex Bruns, a 2008 Fenwick High School graduate and an accomplished long distance runner, won the Mothers Day 5K Run/ Walk to benefit Hospice Care of Middletown at Woodside Cemetery.

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Retired Butler County soldier awarded one of Army’s highest honors

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Jim Savage, of Fairfield Twp., was awarded the Legion of Merit, one of the highest Army medals awarded. A ceremony was held on March 5, 2022, at the AMVETS Post 1983 in Hamilton. PROVIDED

Credit: Provided

Jim Savage, of Fairfield Twp., was awarded the Legion of Merit, one of the highest Army medals awarded. A ceremony was held on March 5, 2022, at the AMVETS Post 1983 in Hamilton. PROVIDED

Credit: Provided

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Jim Savage, of Fairfield Twp., was awarded the Legion of Merit, one of the highest Army medals awarded. A ceremony was held on March 5, 2022, at the AMVETS Post 1983 in Hamilton. PROVIDED

Credit: Provided

Credit: Provided

Jim Savage never wanted the officer route in his military career, but he recently was awarded an honor typically bestowed upon senior military officers or heads of state.

But the Fairfield Twp. resident, a retired Army Chief Warrant Officer, received the Legion of Merit medal, one of the military’s most prestigious medals, in March.

“It’s the culmination of outstanding accomplishments within your career,” said Savage, 63. “All the contributions and significant achievements you’ve done in the military.”

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State honors woman for her work with with at-risk children through Butler County ESC

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Ashley Dobrozsi-Ferguson was recently honored by Ohio Children's Trust Fund for her work serving low-income families who have experienced severe trauma. Dobrozsi-Ferguson works for Butler County Educational Service Center as a Head Start site manager and Therapeutic Interagency Preschool director at Hamilton Early Learning Center. She was one of eight Ohioans nominated as heroes in their community for their work supporting local children, and one of the award recipients. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Ashley Dobrozsi-Ferguson was recently honored by Ohio Children's Trust Fund for her work serving low-income families who have experienced severe trauma. Dobrozsi-Ferguson works for Butler County Educational Service Center as a Head Start site manager and Therapeutic Interagency Preschool director at Hamilton Early Learning Center. She was one of eight Ohioans nominated as heroes in their community for their work supporting local children, and one of the award recipients. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

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Ashley Dobrozsi-Ferguson was recently honored by Ohio Children's Trust Fund for her work serving low-income families who have experienced severe trauma. Dobrozsi-Ferguson works for Butler County Educational Service Center as a Head Start site manager and Therapeutic Interagency Preschool director at Hamilton Early Learning Center. She was one of eight Ohioans nominated as heroes in their community for their work supporting local children, and one of the award recipients. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Ashley Dobrozsi-Ferguson would not tell you she’s an everyday hero, but the people she works with would.

The Ohio Children’s Trust Fund will also call her an everyday hero as the state organization honored Dobrozsi-Ferguson and seven other Ohioans last month with the Everyday Ohio Hero Awards.

“I typically would not tell you that is me,” she said of being called an Everyday Ohio Hero. “I’m just somebody who loves to come to work. I found my thing in working with children and families. I’m just somebody that loves to come to work every day. I got into this not for a lot of praise.”

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AND, for an extra sixth story of the day ...

‘I can’t wait to get up there’ — Lakota East football standout commits to Ohio State

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Lakota East lineman Austin Siereveld (72) blocks Lakota West's Malik Hartford during their football game Friday, Oct. 22, 2021 at Lakota West High School in West Chester Township. Lakota West won 34-7. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Lakota East lineman Austin Siereveld (72) blocks Lakota West's Malik Hartford during their football game Friday, Oct. 22, 2021 at Lakota West High School in West Chester Township. Lakota West won 34-7. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

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Lakota East lineman Austin Siereveld (72) blocks Lakota West's Malik Hartford during their football game Friday, Oct. 22, 2021 at Lakota West High School in West Chester Township. Lakota West won 34-7. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Lakota East High School 2023 offensive lineman Austin Siereveld announced Wednesday afternoon he has given a verbal commitment to play college football at Ohio State University.

“I’m extremely happy and I’m proud of my decision,” Siereveld said. “I can’t wait to get up there.”

Siereveld, who is 6 feet 5 and 330 pounds, considered Alabama, Ohio State and Notre Dame as his three finalists.

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