When Lynn Olman moved to Maumee from Swanton in the fifth grade, there were great expectations.

A dominating hitter in Little League, he was a coveted addition to the Maumee All-Star team. While Mr. Olman, 52, remembers going hitless in the tournament that followed, he has not disappointed in the long run.

Mr. Olman, the Republican representative for the 51st House District and a former city councilman, was honored Jan. 26 when he received the Maumee Outstanding Citizen Award, presented by the city's service organizations.

Coming from the people of the community - "the people who know me best and still like me" - Mr. Olman called the award the most meaningful he has ever received.

The other finalists for the honor were Huber Buehrer, president of The Buehrer Group, an architectural and engineering firm, and Ben and Martha Marsh. Mr. Marsh, an attorney, is a former longtime Maumee solicitor, and his wife has been active in numerous community groups.

A 1965 graduate of Maumee High School, Mr. Olman received his bachelor's degree in journalism from Ohio University four years later.

In 1973, he began a career in the insurance industry with State Farm Insurance and has built up a clientele of 2,200 local families.

Local Republicans convinced Mr. Olman to run for Maumee city council in 1979. That began a string of 15 years on council that ended when he was appointed to the Ohio House of Representatives in 1995, a position to which he has been twice re-elected.

Mr. Olman sees his venture into public service as an extension of his insurance work: helping people. A devout Christian, he believes that everyone has a gift.

"The gift that I've received is the gift of service," he said. "It really has become the fuel that drives my engine."

A powerful fuel, indeed, as it motors Mr. Olman through 80-hour weeks split between Columbus and Maumee.

Mr. Olman's work has often centered around the community's youth. As chairman of Maumee's recreation committee, he was instrumental in the creation of Rolf Park. He promoted the idea of a youth center for the community and, as a state representative in
1998, he secured a $100,000 state grant as seed money.

He has taught catechism class at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Maumee for the last 10 years, most of them as part of a team with his wife, Joyce.

Mr. Olman's commitment to area youth also took the form of Young Life, a nondenominational Christian organization for high school students that he helped start in Maumee 10 years ago.

That's what impressed Allan Brogan, a Maumee Chamber of Commerce member who was on the award's selection committee.

"He helped initiate Young Life over at the high school and after starting it he stayed with it, and I think that's a telling factor when someone gets involved and stays involved," he said.

Mr. Olman said he is proud of his work in the area of mental health and substance abuse. As a state representative, he has pushed on a state and national level for better treatment and fairer insurance measures.

"If there's only one thing I could do to make life better for others, that would be it," he said.

The father of three sons - Justin, 25, Ryan, 23, and Trey, 20 - Mr. Olman has been involved in numerous community organizations, including the Maumee Rotary Club.

Mr. Olman's abilities were evident from an early age, said Tom Brell, who taught him in catechism class at Maumee's St. Joseph's Church.

"He was just a person that utilized his talents for him to get ahead and also for the public good," he said. "It makes you feel really good to meet somebody like that along the way. They've done well, but they've really improved society along the way."

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© Copyright 2008 State Representative Lynn Olman. All rights reserved.


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