Cincinnati, OH, February 21, 2017
Heroes can be right in front of your nose, masquerading as ordinary people until, one day, you realize you just wouldn’t be able to do things as well without them. That’s how it feels when talking about Dave Rickerd, the February Easterseals Hero.
Dave is a freelance graphic designer and mural artist. He came to Cincinnati soon after graduating from Bowling Green State University and he has thrived, working as a graphic designer with several large companies including Procter & Gamble. His passion, though, are his murals.
“I like helping businesses and homeowners have their walls be their fantasy or their expression of where they want to be,” he explains.
So how did an artist from Toledo become such a valued part of the Easterseals family?
It all started in 2012 with one friend’s invitation. Amy Scrivner, formerly Easterseals’ Director of Development, invited Dave to become involved with ReUse-apalooza!, the one-of-a-kind fundraiser featuring one-of-a-kind art at Building Value and benefiting Easterseals. Dave started by volunteering his graphic design skills to create posters for the event, but it wasn’t long before Amy asked him to join the event’s Planning Committee.
“I said, ‘That sounds like fun; I’d love to give back like that,’” Dave remembers.
He is now the longest serving member on the committee, even counting Easterseals staff. Tina Dyehouse is a State Hearing Office with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services who has been on the Planning Committee since 2013. She heaps praise upon praise upon Dave, saying, “He’s really, like, one of the most encouraging and supportive people on that committee, a cheerleader for everybody’s idea.”
There are a lot of reasons that keep Dave coming back. He appreciates Building Value’s focus on sustainability by salvaging materials and by investing in the local workforce. He also has a personal interest in Easterseals’ work breaking down barriers to employment for people with disabilities.
“Having a daughter with Down Syndrome, the desire to help those that have a disability is huge,” he explains. “When we go to the [Brighter Futures Celebration] at the end of the year and see everyone that has a disability and they can thrive and make it on their own…that’s a big goal for us and our daughter.”
This multi-faceted drive to give back is noticed, and noticed by many. Tina elaborates, “Every year he does more and more. Last year he worked with Designer Challenge, getting it set up and making it look great.”
Voicing similar appreciation is Erica Busch, Easterseals Events Manager and Volunteer Coordinator. “It has been a huge asset to have someone with such history with the event, who is always open to new ideas and willing to try new things,” she says.
What started as designing posters has grown into designing posters and invitations, joining the event’s marketing subcommittee, leading efforts to recruit local artists for the Designer Challenge, setting up the event, and even creating original pieces for the Designer Challenge. Last year’s ReUse-apalooza! was the most successful yet, raising more than $68,000 to support Easterseals programs, including Building Value. Dave is proud of how far the event has come, but modestly deflects if anyone tries to give him any credit for the success.
“I think it’s important to help those that have challenges, to give back,” he reflects. “Life’s not fair for anybody, but it’s less fair for them.”
In recognition of his selfless and giving nature, we are proud to call Dave Rickerd an Easterseals Hero.