Dave Urbanski And Buzz Rothenbuhler Recognized For Helping Youths Flourish Through Music, Sports

(Left) Buzz Rothenbuhler, (Right) Dave Urbanski

BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — Leaders and mentors are an invaluable part of society, and the Maumee Chamber of Commerce is hoping to recognize those in the community who go above and beyond for the youths of the community.

The Hometown Hero Awards, presented by Metamora State Bank, will recognize Dave Urbanski and Buzz Rothenbuhler each with a Bridge Award during the awards ceremony on Thursday, March 28.

Tickets for the 49th annual awards banquet are on sale now at maumeechamber.com for $40.00 per person or $350 for a table of 10.

The event will be held at The Pinnacle at 1772 Indian Wood Circle in Maumee. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Dave Urbanski

Joining the Maumee Band Parent Organization was originally simply a way for Dave Urbanski to spend time with his children who were in the band, but all three of his children have since graduated from Maumee High School and “Band Dad Dave” is still heavily involved.

He served as the MBPO president for several years before stepping down this year to be the sergeant at arms to prepare someone else for the role.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Dave said. “We spend a lot of time fundraising, and last year we were able to get new uniforms for the kids, which was super-exciting.”

As part of the MBPO, he has also helped with transporting equipment, assisting in parades, creating props and much more.

It’s been a lot of work over the years, with Dave estimating he spends up to 25 hours a week on projects and fundraising and whatever else comes with his position.

“One of David’s greatest strengths is his ability to recruit volunteers to help within the organization,” said band director Eric Boswell. “Whether that is a one-on-one conversation with another parent at an athletic event or an invite to join him at La Fiesta, David will find a way to encourage other adults to take on a volunteer role within MBPO.”

That support of the organization and the band has been vital in making sure the students have what they need to have a fulfilling time with the band.

All of the extra hours worked each week and the dedication to something he previously knew nothing about has been worth it to Dave, who just wanted to be involved with his own children.

“I’ve always asked my kids to tell me if I ever get too involved, but they’ve reassured me every year that the kids love me and want me to keep coming around,” Dave said. “I’ve even walked some kids across the field for Senior Day when their parents can’t make it, which means a lot to me.”

Dave is not new to volunteering his time based on his kids extracurriculars, either.

He’s spent time with the Boy Scouts of America and with the Maumee Youth Soccer Association, both things he became involved with because of his children.

“He has always put his children first. He is an excellent role model to children and adults,” said MBPO member Joy Swartz. “His contributions and dedication to so many groups in Maumee and willingness to help goes well beyond 20 years.”

Working with children and having the opportunity to watch them flourish and accomplish things they never thought they would is Dave’s favorite part of all his volunteer efforts.

He enjoys watching students challenge themselves and grow in their skills and as people.

Of course, as a leader, he wants to make sure youths are well-prepared and feel supported before they step out of their comfort zone.

“I have never asked them to do anything I couldn’t do myself,” Dave said.

When someone is feeling stressed about an upcoming performance or mastering a specific skill, Dave is happy to learn alongside them, even if it means he has to attempt something he has never done before.

He doesn’t need to be good at it, he just needs to show the kids it’s worth trying, he said.

“There is so much to experience out there, and it’s always better to experience it with others,” he added.

The experience is worth it, he said, and it’s why he wants other adults and students in the community to put their time into volunteering and finding their passion to share with others.

Donald (Buzz) Rothenbuhler

When Donald, or Buzz, Rothenbuhler started his coaching career, he was working with girls in basketball through his church. His experience quickly expanded to include Little League and later, he joined Maumee City Schools, coaching baseball and girls basketball.

No matter the season, his schedule is always full, whether he’s coaching or just supporting the athletes in Maumee, which is what he’s done now for several decades.

His involvement in various sports has impressed many residents, who nominated him for the Bridge Award.

According to Jen and Eric Pyle, in the fall, Buzz can be found in the press box at Kazmaier Stadium. In the winter, he’s easily spotted on the home bench for basketball games; and come February, he balances his time between basketball and baseball. In the summer, he’s supporting baseball players of all ages.

“If you ask Buzz, he would tell you that his presence is no big deal, but he has made an impact on many, many kids in our city,” the couple said in their nomination letter.

For Buzz, his support is nothing extraordinary, or even something he wants to call attention to, but it has been significant for the hundreds of athletes he has coached over the years.

His coaching style, which he describes as relaxed, he said is necessary to help the young athletes who are worried about making mistakes and impressing their coaches.

He reminds each player that they will make mistakes each season, and so will he, but what matters is that they learn from those mistakes and continue to get better.

“I heard it on the radio probably 10 years ago, and I’ve instilled this and preach it in basketball and baseball: There are four things you have to do,” Buzz said about his coaching. In addition to being relaxed in everything they do, he listed that players should work hard every day, focus and be accountable for everything they do in and out of school.

How and what he coaches has been influenced by the coaches he once had and the coaches he worked alongside.

“There are three people I modeled myself after,” Buzz said, citing his Little League coach, his former boss and another fellow Little League coach. “The way they treated people and the way people responded to them is what I noticed.”

Many of the former and current coaching staff members with Maumee City Schools have also been important in helping him choose his methods.

Those same coaches were also ready to offer their endorsement of him for the award, as they have seen how significant his role is to Maumee athletes, particularly in basketball and baseball.

“Through my long association with Buzz, it is my opinion that the personal development of the young adults he works with is his main goal. Not just learning the athletic physical and mental skills to be successful, but also how to face adversity with perseverance and a solid work ethic,” vouched retired Maumee City Schools teacher and coach John Kolbow.

Buzz’s coaching methods must adapt, though, to every team to best meet its needs.

Once he learns what works best for the players and the team as a whole, Buzz is able to help the team hone its skills and, hopefully, continue to advance.

How far each team advances, though, is not something he remembers.

“People ask me my record all the time, and I say I have no idea. If you want to know my record, ask the kids,” Buzz said.

He’s not focused on the records, but how to improve from the losses and help his teams become better.

“You learn a lot about other people when you’re part of a team. You learn a lot about winning and losing and what it takes to win,” Buzz said.

Decades in, Buzz is happy to be a part of a team, or many teams in his case, continuing to pass down lessons and improve skills, but he doesn’t need the recognition for it.

“I don’t do this for me, and I don’t do it for the fame,” Buzz said. “I’ve been doing sports my whole life. It’s just something I like to do.”

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