Maumee High School Senior Chance Ruelle Is Named Hometown Hero By Maumee Chamber Of Commerce

Maumee High School senior Chance Ruelle has been named Maumee’s Hometown Hero for the year. MIRROR PHOTO BY KRISTI FISH

BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — At 17 years old, Chance Ruelle already knows how to handle a crisis, and it’s what’s earned him the title of Hometown Hero.

When a fire broke out at the South Toledo Title Office on Heatherdowns Boulevard last summer, Ruelle was quick to help evacuate people from nearby buildings in the business plaza and call 9-1-1.

A few months later, while on the job at Red Lobster, smoke started seeping out from the ventilation system. Ruelle and some coworkers helped to evacuate diners and call the proper authorities to make sure the building was safe to continue dining in.

Then, in December, on his return from class at Bowling Green State University back to Maumee High School, Ruelle and his friend, Caeden Light, heard a loud noise and spotted a car spinning across the road.

The duo quickly pulled over along with other commuters to help.

Two vehicles were involved in the accident, with one having rolled over.

“There were already people at the red truck, starting to help, so I went to the silver SUV to help the lady and check on her,” Ruelle recounted. “She was all alone and stopped in the road, so I wanted to help her out.”

When stepping out of the vehicle, the woman’s ankle appeared broken, Ruelle said, so he carried her to a safer location.

Qualified individuals on the scene then helped instruct Ruelle, Light and the other bystanders on how to safely extract the people from the flipped truck and care for everyone involved in the accident.

These actions are what prompted his sister Cierra to nominate Ruelle for the Maumee Chamber of Commerce’s Hometown Hero Awards.

He is now the youngest recipient of the Hometown Hero Award.

“Chance has shown time and time again that age does not dictate impact,” Cierra said in the nomination. “Therefore, I truly believe he deserves to be recognized for his impact with this award.”

The award, Ruelle said, is a pleasant surprise, but his actions were never meant to earn him recognition.

“I just do things because they’re the right thing to do,” Ruelle said.

Each choice he makes – to help out someone in need, to follow through with his commitments, to be a reliable employee – is because of the people around him, he said.

“The decision to help out is just part of my upbringing with my parents, my sister, and the church,” Ruelle noted. “I like to put myself in others’ shoes and just try to be helpful.”

He holds his parents responsible for his upbringing and his attitude in life, guiding him to be the best and most responsible person he can be.

“My parents, they have supported me through just about anything,” Ruelle said.

His parents, Denise and Jerry, have helped him to trust and draw on himself for motivation. His sister, he added, is also his biggest supporter in anything he chooses to do.

In the nomination, his sister outlined just a few of the ways Ruelle has helped to save lives and prevent further catastrophe as a teen in the community, which she said made his story one worth sharing.

“I was not expecting that nomination at all,” Ruelle said, but the recognition coming from his family was important to him.

Light, Ruelle added, has also been a big influence on him, in addition to his grandparents and several other community members.

“There are definitely some teachers at Maumee that stand out a little bit to me, especially in the high school,” Ruelle said, noting that he’s never had a bad teacher in his time with the schools.

When he finds himself in a high-stress situation, he uses the skills and lessons he’s learned from so many of those people.

When in these situations, Ruelle said he focuses on staying calm and being helpful in the moment. Once he’s away from it, then he can allow himself a moment to think back on everything that happened.

For those who might find it hard to stay calm, Ruelle advises them to draw on their empathy, which can help them during a high-stress situation to focus on one small thing at a time.

“Just find one thing that you can do to help,” Ruelle said.

His brushes with dangerous situations over the past year have renewed a new sense of duty in Ruelle, who once dreamed of being a firefighter when he was young. Though he has time after graduation to finalize his career plans, he knows he would like to help people in some way.

He also knows he enjoys mechanics and is looking at career options. For now, though, he’s excited to graduate soon and continue practicing the principles instilled in him as he becomes an adult.

“I am most excited for getting committed to a job, using what I learned at school, getting paid to do what I like and living my life as me,” Ruelle said.

Ruelle and the rest of the 49th annual Hometown Hero Awards winners are to be recognized at a banquet on Thursday evening in Maumee.

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