Rodefeld Award

Leading Our Community


Charles A. Rodefeld Award Recipient
For Leadership in Philanthropy and Community Service


When Rick Ahaus learned the probability of dropping out of high school is correlated directly to a student’s ability to read at grade level by third grade, and that area schools were seeing a high drop-out rate, he teamed up with friend Vic Jose to assure students in Wayne County had tools to overcome any deficits they were facing. Together they created the nonprofit organization Every Child Can Read. One of the pivotal programs of the organization, Third Grade Academy, has, since its inception, educated over 1,000 second and third graders who were having difficulty reading at their grade level. Once the need for early childhood literacy programs was identified and the reading intervention program was established, Rick gave generously of his time, energy, and resources to ensure it was a success. He served as the chairman of Every Child Can Read’s board for 13 years and continues to be a driving force behind the organization’s fundraising efforts.

His support of education doesn’t stop there. His company, Ahaus Tool and Engineering, has long been a community leader in the development of young peoples’ minds and skills through its apprenticeship program, preparing high school students to enter skilled positions in the industry.

In addition to his work with Every Child Can Read, Rick has been elected to both the Richmond City Council and the Richmond Community Schools Board of Trustees and has served as chairman of many local organizations’ boards including the Wayne County Foundation.

Rick’s hard work, dedication to excellence, and quiet philanthropy combined to alter the paths for Wayne County students and made him the perfect candidate for the Charles A. Rodefeld Award for Leadership in Philanthropy and the Community.



The Charles A. Rodefeld Award for Leadership in Philanthropy and the Community honors a man who was not widely known as a philanthropist or worker for non-profit organizations.  He was, instead, a person who moved quietly but steadily to help meet community needs.  The Rodefeld Award seeks to recognize Wayne County citizens and/or companies who have been there when agencies or organizations most needed them, who served faithfully and well, though without fanfare, and who have provided leadership and significant financial support over the years.  To qualify for the Charles A. Rodefeld Award, an individual, corporation,  or organization must have demonstrated exceptional leadership and innovative commitment to addressing  a community concern or a dedication to improving the effectiveness of an existing charitable institution while maintaining an attitude of humility.  Evidence of achievement must be demonstrated by gifts of volunteer leadership and significant personal/corporate resources.


Previous Rodefeld Award Recipients

1994 – Charles A. Rodefeld
1995 – Robert W. Rosa
1996 – J. Ross and Natalie Harrington
1997 – Kathleen Postle
1998 – Becky Rosa
1999 – John M. Harlan
2000 – Jim and Helen Cope
2001 – William R. Niersbach
2002 – Victor R. Jose
2003 – Donald C. McCullough
2004 – Tom and Claire Ann Milligan
2005 – Inezetta Stiver
2006 – Paul Lingle
2007 – Andy Cecere
2008 – Albert Gentry
2009 – Jon Ford
2010 – David and Carla Stidham
2011 – Richard ‘Jeff’ Jeffers
2012 – Cheri Jetmore
2013 – Father John Luerman
2014 – Frank and Mary Alice Adney
2015 – Jack and Debra Edelman
2016 – Ray Ontko
2017 – Ginger Gray
2018 – George Schmid

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