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Remembering Ron Reigelsperger

Published on January 14, 2013

If one was asked to identify who has been the most influential individual in the city, many people would say Paul Lawrence Dunbar, the Wright Brothers, Charles F. Kettering, Edwin C. Moses, Bing Davis, John H. Patterson, or James M. Cox. Those are just a few of the notable people that have made a difference in our city.  It is fair to say that when it comes to helping, understanding, and advocating for the well being of at-risk children in our community, there is no childcare worker ambassador greater than the late Ron Reigelsperger.

Ron revolutionized the way Montgomery County Juvenile Probation Services went about reforming kids and created the blue print on how Building Bridges (BB) program lend a helping hand to troubled youth in overcoming their negative life circumstances.  His theory in aiding kids was simple – “WW” – whatever works!  He taught us to take an outside-the-box approach when working with misguided young people.  He never gave up on any of the kids in the BB program.  If a BB youth did not want to attend school, Ron would picked him up and transport him there; if a BB youth was hungry, he fed him; if a BB youth needed shelter, he made resources available for him.  When he worked with these youth, he never gave them a chance at failure.  He made sure they were always treated with respect and fairness.  Ron made sure they received a card on their birthdays and on Christmas. For that reason, these kids never forgot Ron or the program. They saw him as a friend, role model, mentor and even as an over protective father. 

One of the most groundbreaking things that Ron did accomplished was getting the community involved in the process of helping to rehabilitate these kids.  He was well connected with other concerned citizens, individuals in the city who would provide financial assistance to the program so our kids could have access to some of the most basic necessities in their lives. These volunteers /concerned citizens trusted Ron’s vision, and believed in what he did for the kids in the community.

Over the past several years, our Court has changed from being punitive to rehabilitative. This is a direct result of Ron’s “WW” theory. We have seen a drastic decline in juvenile crime in Montgomery County partly because of Ron’s hard work and dedication to the Court and to the Building Bridges program. The Court had nearly 1400 youth who were involved on probation supervision about 10 years ago, and in the past year, they were less than 1000 youth on probation.  Now, that is making a difference! 

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