Once a Quaker, always a Quaker
Bob Sebo is a true American success story. Acting on an idea, he founded a fledging payroll company in the mid-70s. From a modest start with just four employees it grew into a giant — today boasting 12,000 employees dealing with billion dollars of business across the United States.
Call it a template. Call it a blueprint. He called it a dream and went full bore after it. And succeed he did. Along with his pursuit came fame and wealth. It is what our country is founded on: chasing the American dream. Plain and simple entrepreneurial spirit. It is what is encouraged — applying the needed diligence and perseverance along with sweat and sometimes even tears to make something truly believed in come true.
It certainly did for him.
Sebo is a Salem boy. He graduated from Salem High School in 1954. He played sports and he played in the concert band. He served on student council. He was a well-rounded student.
Later he served our country. While at Bowling Green, he joined the U.S. Army Reserves Office Training Corps — yes, ROTC. Achieving the rank of 1st Lieutenant, he had two years of active duty, three years as an active reservist and another year on standby reserve.
Today, the retired philanthropist continues to call Salem home. He had done so much for our community as detailed in our Tuesday page A1 story and the press release from the Salem Board of Education we ran regarding the changing of the stadium name from Reilly to Sebo.
He hasn’t just come to the financial aid of stadium projects. He has helped with other facets of the school district. Such as the band program, Academic Challenge and the ongoing library renovation project. He has donated over $300,000 in scholarship money distributed yearly by the Salem High School Alumni Association. Pause and think about — even in this day and age of high college costs — how many SHS grads that money has helped out. He has also quietly performed many charitable acts throughout our community that had/have nothing to do with the schools. You never read or heard about them because he wanted it kept that way.
His generosity toward making Reilly, (whoops! — it will take some getting used to), make that Sebo Stadium, among the best in all of Ohio will come in at over $400,000. As far as the name change he deserves it. Stadium and arena name changes have become commonplace on all levels. School board members are elected by taxpayers to make decisions that are best for our students. This is one of them.
Stadium complex improvements have been many. More will come. Most recently being updates to the drainage system and press box. Because of its location, the stadium has always been wanting for additional parking spaces, especially during the football season. That is being tackled (sorry) right now with plans to acquire property around the stadium. This will make it easier on folks who have trouble getting out and about.
If you haven’t been to the stadium, we encourage you to do so. Salem’s state-level track programs thrive on the collegiate level all-weather track which, incidentally, is there for any of us to use for exercise. Besides football and soccer, the state-of-the-art field — fundraising for that was a huge community effort — is utilized for practice by school baseball and softball groups and youth sports. Band shows are held at the stadium. Attracting high school football games and the commerce they bring is likely.
Those against the name change will have to get used to it. Some people resist change for the mere sake of change. That isn’t good enough here. With a nod of tribute to the memory of Civil War General James W. Reilly, we support anything that is for the betterment of our community and its young people. All that has been done to the stadium and will be done is just that: good for our student-athletes. That is indisputable.
There are detractors out there — and we have heard them — insistent on bad mouthing anyone who is a success story and enjoying, yes among other things, an abundance of wealth. Basic human nature for sure sometimes. But when carried to an extreme it becomes petty envy and pure jealousy. It is hurtful. To those small minds with big mouths: just give it up. It gets tiresome. You are welcome to contribute to the school anytime you feel the compulsion. Is stadium name changing self-serving? Of course it is to a degree. But what is wrong with someone wanting to attach a family name to something as splendid as a community jewel that the stadium complex has become? It is part of leaving a legacy.
Every school district should be so fortunate to have someone like a Bob Sebo eager to provide financial infusion. He never had to do all that he has done for the schools and the city. But he did so because he wants to share his good fortune. Much like so many others do in our town in their own ways. He will tell you he bleeds red and black. Which isn’t all that surprising. After all, once a Quaker always a Quaker.